Less than two minutes later, Duke's rotation took a blow as junior center Marques Bolden went down with a knee injury while attempting to block a shot by UNC forward Garrison Brooks. With first-year forward Zion Williamson still unable to play due to a sprained knee, losing Bolden further hurt Duke's frontcourt depth.
With Bolden out of the game, UNC quickly took an 8-4 lead after a free throw from Brooks and a fastbreak layup by Kenny Williams. Duke quickly responded with a layup from first-year guard Tre Jones and a jumper by RJ Barrett, who scored 33 points the last time the two teams played on Feb. 20, to tie the game at 8-8 early in the first half.
Out of the under-16 timeout, Duke and UNC traded blows. An 8-3 Blue Devil run was answered with a layup by White on a nifty move and a 3-pointer by first-year forward Nassir Little to tie the game at 16-16.
By the 10:21 mark, Little contributed four more points on a thunderous two-handed dunk and a layup to give himself seven points on the night and keep his team's deficit at 23-22.
After Little's layup, Williams converted his third layup of the night to give UNC its 14th point in the paint in just 10 minutes and take a 24-23 lead.
Duke responded with a 9-3 run capped by first-year Cam Reddish's 15th point of the night on a 3-pointer to give his team the 32-27 edge. Williams answered right back with his second straight 3-pointer to cut UNC's deficit to two.
On the next defensive possession, Williams made his presence known on the other end of the court by stepping up and taking a charge. Williams led the way on both ends of the court in the first half and finished with a team-high 12 points.
At the 1:57 mark in the first half, Williams drew his second charge of the night on Duke's Barrett to put the first-year on the bench with his third foul of the night. Less than 30 seconds later, Brooks tied the game at 36 with a layup, leading to a Duke timeout.
The Blue Devils ended the half by scoring four of the last six points to take a 40-38 lead into halftime.
Coming out of the break, Johnson started to look comfortable and made his first two shots to give UNC a 42-40 lead. After a Reddish free throw, Maye connected on a 3-pointer to give UNC a five-point advantage. Just over a minute later, Williams hit his third 3-pointer of the night to give UNC its largest lead of the game at 50-44.
Reddish scored his 20th point at the night to tie the game at 52-52 with 13:16 left in the game and Duke had a chance to take the lead on three straight possessions but failed to convert.
Johnson finally ended a UNC scoring drought that lasted over three minutes to give his team the lead at 55-52. His second 3-pointer of the night came with 12:05 remaining in the game.
With 11:34 on the clock, White hit his 73rd 3-pointer of the year to break North Carolina's first-year record and then added an and-one layup less than a minute later to make it a 61-55 lead. After Jones answered with a three for Duke, White hit another shot from long range for his 18th point of the night.
After Duke got the lead down to four points at the 9:12 mark, UNC responded with an 11-0 run in less than three minutes to take a 75-60 lead, its largest advantage of the night. The scoring burst was capped by 3-pointers from White and Williams.
Over the next four minutes, Duke went on a 10-0 run to make it a 75-70 game with 2:12 left in the contest. Barrett earned his 26th point of the night on a 3-pointer to cut the lead down to five.
The Blue Devils had two chances to make it a one-possession game, but they were unable to hit a shot and Williams continued his stalwart defensive effort with a block on Barrett.
Duke, forced to foul, put Johnson at the line with 49 seconds left. The graduate guard made both free throws and the Blue Devils turned it over on the other end down by seven points.
Who stood out?
The three seniors all contributed double figures in the win. Williams had his best game of the season in his last showing at the Smith Center. He scored a season-high 18 points on 4 of 7 shooting and played excellent defense, drawing three charges on the defensive end. Although Maye did not have a strong shooting performance, he contributed a career-high seven assists and 16 rebounds. Johnson had 14 points on 5 of 13 shooting.
White contributed a team-high 21 points on 8 of 18 shooting.
When was it decided?
With just over nine minutes left in the game, Duke had cut UNC's lead to four points. The Tar Heels responded with an 11-0 run that included 3-pointers from White and Williams to take a commanding 15-point lead. Duke responded with a 10-0 run, but was unable to get the game closer than five points as North Carolina pulled away late.
Why does it matter?
UNC clinched the No. 2 seed for next week's ACC Tournament and bolstered its case as a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. With the win over Duke on Saturday, North Carolina earned the season sweep for the first time since the 2008-2009 campaign.
When do they play next?
UNC opens up ACC Tournament play on Thursday as the No. 2 seed in the quarterfinals at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte at 7 p.m.
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