The tallest of orders required a change in plan — but when it was all said and done, the result was still the same.
Saturday night in the Smith Center, a matchup that featured No. 3 Duke (28-3, 15-3 ACC) and the No. 19 North Carolina men's basketball team (21-10, 11-7), the Tar Heels did what they could to stop the dominant guard duo of Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook. But even when UNC's defensive strategy changed, the Duke pair's production never wavered. After Jones and Cook scored 22 each in Durham the last time these two teams matched up, they scored 44 together again in Chapel Hill on Saturday — 20 from Cook and 24 from Jones in Duke's 84-77 victory over the Tar Heels.
UNC's plan for the scrappy pair seemed simple: adjust to the way it defended Duke's pick and rolls.
"Flat hedge instead of hard hedge," junior guard Marcus Paige explained. "We thought it would be better to corral them rather than blitz them on the screen and roll."
That meant a greater emphasis on fighting through screens instead of relying on the switch technique. It meant being aware and adjusting accordingly.
"Game plan starting out was just flatten it out," said junior forward J.P. Tokoto. "And what the offensive guard was doing was just dragging the screen out and making a play off of what they saw."
But in the end, no matter what UNC tried on the defensive end, Jones and Cook found a way around it on the offensive end.
"I'm tired of saying this, but congratulate Duke," said Coach Roy Williams in his postgame press conference. "Tyus: 12-for-12 from the foul line and seven assists and one turnover ... Quinn made a couple big baskets driving there. Really, a good basketball team."
Jones shot 50 percent from the field with two 3-pointers, while Cook shot 7-for-16 from the field with four from behind the arc. By halftime, Cook already had 13 and Jones seven, respectively tripling and nearly doubling Jahlil Okafor's first-half output of four points.