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North Carolina’s win sets up another classic potential vs. Duke


Mike Miller

It was slow, it was ugly and it was close. Yet No. 7 North Carolina still escaped No. 25 Virginia. Roy Williams probably isn’t happy about it, but he’s certainly relived.

Check out what was working against the Heels in their 54-51 win Saturday.

  • The Cavaliers’ defense harassed leading-scorer Harrison Barnes into a 3-for-15 shooting day (he finished with seven points).
  • Kendall Marshall couldn’t get going, scoring just one point (but did have six assists).
  • UNC forced just four turnovers, the second straight game in which they’ve forced so few. It’s a low for the Roy Williams era.
  • Cavs star Mike Scott finished with just six points on 3-for-13 shooting, yet Virginia was in it until the end.

Yet North Carolina – with big help from John Henson’s double-double and Tyler Zeller’s game-high 20 points, including a crucial dunk with 13.3 seconds left.

That leaves UNC (25-4, 12-2) tied with Duke atop the ACC with two games remaining. (Duke escaped against Virginia Tech earlier Saturday.) And you know what that means.

A showdown’s coming.

Provided the Heels beat Maryland next week and Duke takes care of Wake, the season finale in Durham could provide us with yet another classic game this season. Sounds lovely.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.