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No. 3 UNC men's basketball slams archrival No. 7 Duke, 93-84, at home

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UNC junior forward Harrison Ingram (55) celebrates a three pointer during the Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024 men’s basketball game against Duke in the Dean Smith Center. UNC won with a score of 93-84.

Right from the start, the top-10 bout between No. 3 UNC (18-4, 10-1 ACC) and No. 7 Duke (16-5, 7-3 ACC) was ugly. 

The pace was quick from the tip, forcing the teams to move up and down the court rapidly. This quickly caught up to the players, and by the 10-minute mark graduate center Armando Bacot was keeled over, hands on his stomach, panting with exhaustion. 

This set the tone for the rest of the night in what would be a gritty battle between the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils.

At the end of the day, however, it was North Carolina that pushed just a bit harder, clinching a 93-84 win off standout performances from Bacot and junior wing Harrison Ingram, who combined for 46 points. Bacot led the team in points with 25, while Ingram notched 13 rebounds and five 3-pointers.

Duke center Kyle Filipowski won the tip and immediately ran the ball down the court, beating Bacot in the paint to secure an easy layup. Not to be outdone, Bacot responded on the ensuing possession, easily sidestepping Filipowski to notch his own layup. 

From there, the game was a back and forth battle. Ingram was all over the court on both the offensive and defensive boards and had already recorded five rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal by the first timeout — more than anyone else on either team. 

In part because of that hustle, along with a steady performance from Bacot in the paint, UNC was quickly able to seize the lead and hold it throughout the entire half. 

At the 20-minute mark, Bacot led the team in both points and rebounds with 12 and eight, respectively. 

"Armando was terrific," head coach Hubert Davis said. "Not just scoring but [in] two things: his ability to play defense without fouling Filipowski, [who] is one of the better players in the country — not only can he score, he draws fouls and we were concerned about that going into the game — and, an area where Armando has improved so much is handling the double team."

Ingram was right on his heels, boasting 11 points and six rebounds. 

"I came out with as much energy as I could," Ingram said. "I got my 10 hours of sleep last night and I was ready to go." 

Noticeably absent from the top of the score sheet was senior guard RJ Davis, who only managed a meager four points in the first half, on 2-6 shooting. 

Bacot came out of the locker room hot, securing two more points for the Tar Heels to extend their lead to 12. In an attempt to shut UNC's offense down, Duke switched from man-to-man to zone defense, but to no avail. 

Ingram immediately found himself open and notched a three — his fourth of the night. Just a few minutes later he followed it up with another, Duke wing Mark Mitchell not giving him any trouble defensively. 

From there, the Tar Heels were able to run away with it. Throughout the last 10 minutes, Duke was unable to cut the score within eight, despite a coordinated effort in the paint from Filipowski. 

The Blue Devils were completely shut down from beyond the arc, only shooting 26.3 percent.

But, at the end of the day it was simply UNC who hustled harder, allowing the Tar Heels to gain the upper hand and keep it throughout all 40 minutes to secure a dominant top-10 win. 

"We took a loss last week, or you know a few days ago, whenever it was but I don't really think that altered our confidence," sophomore guard Seth Trimble said. "But I think beating a really good team like this definitely boosts it."  

The Tar Heels return to the Dean E. Smith Center on Tuesday to take on Clemson at 7 p.m.

@peacegwen

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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Gwen Peace

Gwen Peace is the 2023-24 assistant sports editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as a senior writer. Gwen is a sophomore pursuing a double major in media and journalism and peace, war and defense.