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No. 3 North Carolina Dominates No. 7 Duke in Rivalry Clash

North Carolina guard Cormac Ryan (3) celebrates with guard Elliot Cadeau (2) and forward Jalen Washington (13) while Duke guard Caleb Foster (1) looks on during the first half of an NCAA college baske

Third-ranked North Carolina demonstrated confidence and a physical edge as they emerged victorious against their arch-rivals, seventh-ranked Duke, in a thrilling college basketball matchup on Saturday night. The Tar Heels maintained their composure and protected their lead despite several surges from the Blue Devils, ultimately securing a 93-84 victory in front of a raucous home crowd.

Powering North Carolina's triumph were Armando Bacot and Harrison Ingram, who both recorded double-doubles. Bacot, standing at an imposing 6-foot-11, dominated with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while the versatile 6-foot-7 Ingram displayed his prowess all over the court with 21 points, 13 rebounds, and four steals. Their performances exemplified the depth and productivity of North Carolina's revamped roster, which has propelled them to the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings.

Head coach Hubert Davis expressed his satisfaction with the hunger and drive exhibited by his team, both as individuals and as a collective unit. The Tar Heels exhibited unwavering control throughout the game, even as ACC scoring leader RJ Davis faced relentless defensive attention. Davis, despite struggling with his shooting, managed to contribute 17 crucial points in the latter stages of the contest.

Ingram, displaying his shooting range, sank 5 of 9 shots from beyond the arc. One notable three-pointer came from the corner, where he faced tight defense from Duke's Jeremy Roach. Ingram's impact was not limited to scoring, though, as he showcased his hustle and determination when he made a dive-on-the-floor play to save a possession, ultimately leading to a corner three-pointer by Cormac Ryan.

Bacot, anticipating a big game, delivered an outstanding performance in the highly-anticipated post matchup against Duke's standout player, Kyle Filipowski. The skilled big man converted 10 of his 13 field goal attempts, additionally notching five assists while skillfully avoiding foul trouble. Bacot confidently predicted his own success, even sharing his pregame conversation with his mother, expressing his belief in achieving 20 points and 10 rebounds.

North Carolina consistently displayed tenacity throughout the contest, fueled by the enthusiastic support of their home crowd. Their relentless efforts forced Duke into an uphill battle throughout the game, as they trailed by 10 points at halftime and failed to narrow the margin to less than seven until the final minute. The Tar Heels' ability to deliver timely scores and secure critical rebounds contributed to their victory.

Although Duke entered the game with immense momentum following a 7-1 record in January, their offensive prowess was thwarted by North Carolina's formidable defense. While shooting an impressive 50.7% from the field, the Blue Devils struggled from beyond the arc, making just 5 of 19 three-point attempts. Furthermore, their 11 turnovers, including a costly inbound pass turnover by Tyrese Proctor in the final minute, gifted the Tar Heels with 19 points.

Duke's head coach, Jon Scheyer, expressed his disappointment in his team's demeanor, particularly highlighting their failure to match North Carolina's intensity and their reluctance to fight for loose balls. Scheyer acknowledged the talent of their opponents, stating that even exceptional effort might not be enough to secure a win against such a formidable North Carolina team. However, he emphasized his dissatisfaction with Duke's overall competitiveness and their missed opportunity to challenge their rivals.

The victory marks a significant rebound for North Carolina after their perfect 9-0 start to ACC play was spoiled by a loss to Georgia Tech earlier in the week. The Tar Heels aim to maintain their winning momentum as they prepare to host Clemson on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, Duke will look to regroup when they host Notre Dame on Wednesday night.

In what was undoubtedly another classic installment of this enduring rivalry between neighboring powerhouses, both renowned for their storied basketball histories, North Carolina's resilience and depth ultimately prevailed. The Tar Heels' hunger and thirst for success continue to drive their pursuit of greatness, as they aim to solidify their spot atop the ACC standings and make their mark on the national stage.

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