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UNC Overcomes Deficit To Defeat Duke 75-73

Posted March 7, 2005 11:10 a.m. EST

— Marvin Williams converted a three-point play with 17 seconds remaining to lift second-ranked North Carolina to a thrilling 75-73 victory over No. 6 Duke at the Smith Center.

With the win, the Tar Heels (25-3, 13-2 ACC) won their first outright ACC title since 1993. North Carolina will now be the top seed in next week's conference tournament.

Sean May had a monster game for the Tar Heels, as he posted 26 points and a career-high 24 rebounds in Carolina's seventh straight victory. Jackie Manuel chipped in 12 points, Raymond Felton netted 11 and Williams finished with nine.


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Box Score And Stats

Shelden Williams registered 22 points to lead the Blue Devils (22-5, 11-5), who had a four-game winning streak against North Carolina halted. Duke defeated the Tar Heels, 71-70, at home on February 9.

J.J. Redick scored 17 points for the Blue Devils, but all came in the first half. Lee Melchionni was the star in the second half for Duke, as he scored all 15 of his points in the final 20 minutes.

Duke seemed to have a comfortable 73-64 cushion with about three minutes remaining in the game, but the Tar Heels closed the contest with 11 straight points.

May's three-point play cut the deficit to 73-71 with 1:41 left. The teams then traded misses on their next trips down the court, and after a steal, Felton was able to draw a foul with 20 seconds left. He made the first shot and missed the second, but Marvin Williams was there for the rebound, bucket and free throw with 17 seconds remaining. The basket gave North Carolina a 74-73 edge and the foul shot made it a two-point game.

Redick and Daniel Ewing each had three-point attempts in the closing seconds, but nothing fell for Duke.

North Carolina held a 47-41 lead at halftime and Manuel made a layup to make it an eight-point game early in the second half. That's when Melchionni hit back-to-back three pointers to slice the deficit to two. UNC pushed its advantage up to 54-47, but Duke answered with a 7-2 stretch to make it a 56-54 contest.

The Tar Heels led 58-54 after May hit a pair of free throws with 12:46 remaining, but Duke later went on top, 59-58, after a three-pointer by Melchionni and a jumper by Ewing. The Blue Devils pushed it to 61-58 with Shelden Williams' layup before consecutive baskets by Manuel and May restored North Carolina's edge at 62-61. Duke then used a 12-2 burst to grab a 73-64 cushion. However, Melchionni's three-pointer, which pushed the lead to 11 with 3:07 left, would represent the Blue Devils' final points of the game.

The Blue Devils started out quickly and held a 19-11 advantage with nearly seven minutes gone in the first half. However, North Carolina responded with eight straight points to even the score and the game would be tight for the rest of the half.

Duke grabbed a 37-36 edge after Ewing's three-pointer with just under five minutes left. But it was UNC that would close the half with an 11-4 spurt to carry a 47-41 cushion into the locker room. May converted a pair of baskets in the stretch, while Reyshawn Terry added a three-pointer.

Game Notes:

Tar Heels coach Roy Williams improved to 1-3 against Duke since joining North Carolina before last season...North Carolina played its third straight game without junior forward Rashad McCants, who has been sidelined with an intestinal disorder. It is uncertain when McCants, the team's second-leading scorer, will be able to return... North Carolina and Duke's women's basketball teams will play for the ACC title on Monday.

Copyright 2005 Courtesy of SportsNetwork.