Jayson Tatum at his best in second-half explosion against North Carolina

Jayson Tatum at his best in second-half explosion against North Carolina

Jayson Tatum at his best in second-half explosion against North Carolina

Grayson Allen scored 25 points to lead Duke to a big win over North Carolina 86-78 on Thursday night.

The defeat drops North Carolina into a tie with Florida State for the ACC's best record.

Jim Sumner will be along presently with his take from Cameron. He sunk his shot to put the Tar Heels up on the Blue Devils 61-60. They're issues they'll have to address and quickly with a closing stretch that includes two games against Virginia, a home game against Louisville and a trip to Pittsburgh in addition to those upcoming rivalry showdowns against State and Duke. With so little space separating the teams at the top of the conference, the regular-season championship will likely go down to the wire. The eighth-ranked Tar Heels are an outstanding team, a group very capable of getting back to the Final Four again this season.

It appeared as if Allen's antics and Coach K's extended absence were a death penalty for the Devils and their lofty preseason expectations, but it might be time to forget the team's past lackluster performances and focus on what arguably the most talented roster in the country is capable of doing moving forward. In this hilarious video, the Tar Heel fan donned an Allen jersey and walked around the UNC campus tripping fellow students.

After strong first halves by Luke Kennard and Allen helped pull the attention away from Tatum, the freshman's takeover came with a mentality predicated on taking advantage of mismatches and refusing to settle for perimeter jumpers.

BC (9-16, 2-10 Atlantic Coast) jumped out to an early lead behind the sharpshooting of senior Kelly Hughes, who had as many points in the first quarter (11) as the entire Tar Heels (13-11, 2-9) squad.

Without Hicks, the Heels weren't almost as aggressive on the boards and were matched by Duke in offensive rebounds, making it even more incredible the game was so close considering that the Blue Devils made 52 percent of their shots, 48 percent from behind the arc.

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His final play before picking up his fifth foul gave Duke enough points to win.

After North Carolina cut the lead back to 80-77, Tatum missed an open 3, sending a long rebound toward the elbow.

"I probably was nervous, I'm not going to lie", he said.

The people behind the lights and cameras wanted to know how a freshman in his first Duke-UNC game could play so well.

"There's a couple balls we should have got - the loose balls we needed to have to keep the game close - and they got them", said junior wing Theo Pinson, who returned after missing three games with an ankle injury.

Grayson Allen, Jayson Tatum and Luke Kennard all played terrific games, while Frank Jackson scored double figures off the bench.

Offensively, Allen and Duke look poised to make a deep NCAA Tournament run, but they are struggling to stop teams. Those three teams are all in front of the Blue Devils.

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