The Biggest Basketball Game in North Carolina

February 10, 2020
The Biggest Basketball Game in North Carolina was played this month amidst a myriad of other global issues. A mere 13 days after we lost Kobe & Gianna Bryant along with seven other passengers in a tragic accident. I can’t explain how much the public persona Kobe Bryant meant to me. There have been many nights I didn’t stop, many mornings I skipped snooze, and countless afternoons I hit the practice court BECAUSE Mamba would have. (Crazy, I know, but find motivation where you can!) And Mamba would have enjoyed this match-up this year y’all. Your very-soon-to-be favorite basketball writer, Nick Andre, is gearing up to take #HerstunHoops to another level for March Madness 2020. I am so proud of this guy. We growing y’all. Let’s see what in the world is going on in North Carolina.

The Biggest Basketball Game in North Carolina 2020

Every season, College Basketball fans look forward to the rivalries that have lasted for centuries before our time. And of course, one of those rivalries that we all anticipate is the Duke University [Duke] Blue Devils vs. North Carolina [UNC] Tar Heels.

[WildeNote: The Duke Blue Devils wear royal blue. The UNC Tar Heels wear the light/baby blue pictured on Jordan below.]

This year both teams have top prospects on their rosters.

The Biggest Basketball Game in North Carolina 2020

Match-Ups to Watch

UNC Tar Heels

Biggest Basketball Game in North Carolina

Cole Anthony, 6’2″ Guard

Garrison Brooks, 6’9″ Forward

Biggest Basketball Game in North Carolina

Duke Blue Devils

Biggest Basketball Game in North Carolina

Tre Jones, 6′ 2″ Guard

Vernon Carey Jr., 6′ 10″ Center

Biggest Basketball Game in North Carolina

This was a big game for both teams.

For UNC Tarheels, the past few months have been tough. The injury of starting guard, Cole Anthony, deeply affected the team. They fell out of the NCAA College Top 25. Anthony is back in the line-up and the Tarheels are thirsty to prove they can compete. With Duke being one of the dominant teams in Division I, as always, this was a game provided proving grounds on a big, historical stage.

The Biggest Basketball Game in North Carolina 2020

Game Recap

1st Half

As tip-off began, both teams were looking to send a message early. The defense was intense and the crowd was buzzing louder than ever.

The Tar Heels used their home floor to their advantage early by coming out hot offensively, picking up an early lead.

Many expected Cole Anthony to get out to the fast start for UNC. But surprisingly, Anthony was able to get great production out of guys like Leaky Black and Christian Keeling. The home crowd could not be contained as their team rallied to an impressive team effort. The great production kept the momentum going for the Tar Heels and eventually UNC went up double digits midway through the first half.

Duke would eventually make a run to make the margin closer. Tre Jones would begin to go to work around the midrange area and they would also begin to dump the ball down low to Vernon Carey Jr. Duke would eventually bring the lead down to 3 late in the first half.

But unfortunately for Blue Devils fans, the Tar Heels found momentum once again to end the half. They continued to pound the ball in the paint and ended the first half with a 44-35 lead headed into intermission.

2nd Half

UNC Tarheels 44 – Duke Blue Devils 35

The second half started and the Tar Heels came out with the same amount of confidence that they started the first half with. They were hitting shot after shot to begin the half and they instantly found themselves up double digits again.

UNC Tarheels 77 – Duke Blue Devils 64 w/ 3:55 to play in regulation

With the largest lead being at 13 points, Coach K knew it was time for his guys to regroup and get it together as a team in order to win this game.

Once again, here came the Blue Devils. They were getting good looks in the paint and always began to hit three-pointers. They began to completely take the Tar Heels out of the game and found themselves in a tight game late in the 2nd half.

UNC Tarheels 79 – Duke Blue Devils 70 w/ 2:06 to play in regulation.

It began to be the Tre Jones show with about 43 seconds to go in regulation. He was able to get back to back layups to bring the margin within two. And with 4 seconds remaining, he saw himself at the free-throw line.

UNC Tarheels 84 – Duke Blue Devils 81 w/ 0:04 to play in regulation.

Jones would go on to hit the first free throw to make the game 84 – 82 UNC. The Duke Blue Devils were within two points and Jones had one free throw remaining.

And with little time remaining, he purposely threw the ball on the front of the rim, got the rebound back and hit a game-tying jumper at the buzzer to tie the game at 84 apiece headed to overtime.

But with 5 more minutes added to the clock, they had another crack at sealing the deal.


College Basketball (NCAA) provides a 5-minute overtime period.
The Biggest Basketball Game in North Carolina
Unc Tarheels 84 – Duke Blue Devils 84 w/ 5:00 to play

At the beginning of overtime, Duke was able to take over on offense taking efficient shots and giving themselves a 90-85 lead halfway through the extended period.

Duke Blue Devils 90 – UNC Tarheels 85 w/ 3:59 to play

But guessed who crawled right back into it? The UNC Tarheels of course!

Cole Anthony would get two great looks around the rim and Andrew Platek would contribute to the run putting the Tar Heels up 94-91 with 1:30 remaining.

UNC Tarheels 94 – Duke Blue Devils 91

The teams traded baskets, fouls and free throws the next few ball possessions.

UNC Tarheels 96 – Duke Blue Devils 95

But with the game being 96-95 North Carolina, The Tar Heels turned the ball over after great defense by the Blue Devils. And Tre Jones would see himself at the line once again with 6.6 seconds remaining.

Jones hit the first and then missed the second.

It was almost a deja vu moment as he got the offensive rebound and took the shot. As he took the shot, the ball went wide left.

UNC Tarheels 96 – Duke Blue Devils 96

But luckily there was a hero to save the day for the Blue Devils’ team right on time.

With Wendell Moore being right under the basket, he was able to grab the offensive rebound after Jones’ miss and rip it up and in right at the buzzer; stunning the Tar Heels and their fans with a 98-96 victory on a tough road game for Duke.

“I just thought to go get it,” Moore stated in his postgame interview.

It’s for certain that his teammates and the Duke fans are very appreciative of him paying attention to detail and making the right play at the right time. This moment will be one that Moore will remember for the rest of his life going forward.

Once again the rivalry showed a tough fight from start to finish. Even though one team had to lose, they were still able to put on a show for the crowd in the best way possible. This is a game in college history that will not be forgotten.


Written By Nick Andre. Edited By W.D. Herstun

Editor’s Note – on the GIF beat. the GIFs are not reflective of the players mentioned in the writing for the most part. Although, Tre Jones for the Duke Blue Devils is widely recognized.


Nick is stretching himself to become a better writer and digital communicator and I am very happy to enjoy his journey. If you love basketball, then he is a great follow on Twitter, constantly engaged with rumors, updates, and other fans.

We will be running a series of short articles on college & international basketball in an effort to settle on a rhythm for the forthcoming NBA Playoffs. Sports are an important part of American culture for a lot of people and it is pretty cool to share basketball with folks that may not have known much about how we play it in the States!

Cheers to Nick and North Carolina and stay tuned for more #HerstunHoops

#LetsGrow #LoveAlways

Can’t get enough Nick Andre? Check out his top artists of the decade exclusively on the Herstun FM Readio.


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