This time, Okwuonu’s orchestration was for naught. All he could do was watch as the ball arched perfectly into the upper left corner of the net. In an instant, Okwuonu and his teammates turned lifeless as Duke’s bench raced onto the field to celebrate the 75th-minute equalizer in Durham.
Six minutes later, the Blue Devils (3-2-1, 1-1-0 ACC) scored again to hand No. 1 UNC (5-2-0, 1-1-0 ACC) its second loss of the season. And just like that, the Tar Heel defense suffered a dent in its aura of invincibility.
“As a leader on the field, I just try to keep everyone organized, be strong defensively and live for shutouts,” Boyd said. “And we didn’t get that done (Friday). I take responsibility for that.”
Though Duke’s late scoring outburst came suddenly, it was the culmination of a lackadaisical second-half effort by the UNC defense. While the Blue Devils emerged from the locker room looking sharper and more aggressive on the attack, the Tar Heels’ legs appeared heavy.