Even in a year when one of the two teams are down, Duke and North Carolina never disappoints. In their first meeting of the 2019-20 campaign, the Tar Heels, which are in the midst of a horror show of a season and sit at 10-12, took it to the seventh-ranked Blue Devils in Chapel Hill, and looked primed to pick up a win over their Tobacco Road rivals.
Despite being 10 points with just over two minutes remaining, though, North Carolina was unable to close things out in regulation. Duke stormed back to force overtime with things tied up at 84, thanks in large part to the heroics of sophomore floor general Tre Jones.
A made free throw by Andrew Pletak with six seconds left put UNC up by three and sparked one of the sport’s biggest debates: Should they foul, or should they play it out. Roy Williams had his squad foul Jones, but they did it with 4.4 seconds left on the clock. Jones nailed the first free throw, and then, this absolutely ridiculous sequence occurred thanks to a missed free throw, an offensive rebound, and a buzzer-beater.
Overtime was just as hectic, and Duke was able to score seven points in 16 seconds to pick up the win. While Jones was unable to hit the dagger this time around, one of his teammates, Wendell Moore, was able to play hero and gave the Blue Devils a 98-96 win.
It was an absolutely bonkers basketball game, and while North Carolina fought valiantly, it wasn’t quite enough. The good news is that this was only the first time these sides squared off this season, and they’ll go at it again on March 7 in Durham.