DURHAM – No. 4 Duke held a five-point lead with just over 10 minutes left, but North Carolina clawed back to defeat the Blue Devils 94-81 in Saturday’s regular season finale at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The night marked the final home game of head coach Mike Krzyzewski‘s historic career. Coach K will retire at the end of this season with a 572-76 record at the famed Cameron Indoor.
Freshman Paolo Banchero led the Blue Devils (26-5, 16-4 ACC) with 23 points, while sophomore Mark Williams recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Jeremy Roach added 15 on 5-of-6 shooting.
North Carolina (23-8, 15-5 ACC) had four players with 20+ points, led by Armando Bacot, who netted 23 with seven boards. Brady Manek had 20, with five three-pointers, and 11 rebounds.
After Duke grabbed a 61-56 advantage, the Tar Heels fought their way back in front with a 9-0 run. Carolina never gave up that lead, as a Trevor Keels free throw to cut it back to one was quickly answered with a three from RJ Davis. UNC finished 19-of-22 from the free throw line, including a 12-of-12 clip at the charity stripe by Caleb Love.
Following the end of the game, Coach K addressed the crowd of 9,314 that included over 90 of his former Duke players. Krzyzewski and his family were presented with three gifts. Director of the Duke Alumni Association Mychal Harrison presented a bench dedicated to Coach K that will be placed outside the Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center. Vice President/Director of Athletics Nina King then unveiled a custom framed memento in commemoration of each of his three stops during his basketball journey – Weber High School, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Duke. Duke University President Vincent Price followed with an announcement of the Krzyzewski Family Scholarship, which will be awarded each year to five senior student-athletes.
Krzyzewski culminated the ceremony by speaking alongside his wife, Mickie, their three daughters and 10 grandchildren.
“This is our home,” Kryzewski said. “Forty-two years ago, Tom Butters, the athletic director, took a chance on me. When he offered me the job, he said, ‘It’s not your job, it’s your family’s job.’ He set the standard right away of saying, ‘Whatever you’re doing, include your family.’ We have taken that, and everyone, that’s what Duke is about. Our family has grown up here: 10 grandchildren, our three beautiful daughters. We have absolutely loved being part of the Duke family.”
Duke will enter next week’s ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y., as the No. 1 seed. The Blue Devils will face either No. 8 Florida State or No. 9 Syracuse in the quarterfinal round on Thursday, March 10 at 12 p.m.
COURTESY DUKE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS