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#8 North Carolina Routs the Top Team in the Land - Rival Duke as Zion Williamson Goes Down Early
#8 North Carolina Routs the Top Team in the Land Rival Duke; Zion Williamson Goes Down Early The highly anticipated showdown between #1 Duke and #8 North Carolina got off to a shocking start - but for unfortunately the wrong reason. Duke star and potential top overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, Zion Williamson had his left shoe expload as he slipped awkwardly and then grabbed behind his right knee as he slid down to the floor and out less than a minute into the game. The severity of the injury is still unknown as Cameron Indoor doesn't have x-ray machines. Hopefully the injury isn't too serious, but he was the none-the-less ruled out for the game. The Tar Heels took advantage of the initial shock and jumped out to a 14-6 lead after the first 6 minutes of action. Duke started off extremely slow from the beyond arc and never really got the 3-ball going at all in the game. Luke Maye made an easy 2 in transition to put UNC up double-figures at 20-9. Maye got off to a sizzling start and hit double-figures already when he put the Tar Heels up 24-15 a little over the midway point of the first half. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils were just 2-13 from 3-point range. Maye continued his hot start and made it 14 points after he gave UNC their largest lead to that point at 12, with 6 minutes to go in the half. Remarkably UNC, who is a 3-point shooting team, had zero 3's to that point, but were 15/20 on shots in the paint. North Carolina's Brooks slammed one down to beat the buzzer to end a potential Duke threat and extend the lead back out to double-digits at 10 heading into the locker room. Duke was unable to sustain any kind of a potential run and found themselves scoring a turnover and then turning around and immediately turning it back over themselves. It appeared the Blue Devils were going to snag the momentum and cut it to 6 heading into the half, but a poor pass on a potential fast-break easy basket, instead turned into an easy transition dunk for the Tar Heels on the other end. Maye led the way with 18 as North Carolina took a 42-32 lead into the locker room. The second half continued going in the Tar Heels' favor as they built their largest lead of the game, taking advantage of a 13-0 run and pushing it all the way out to 59-37. The Blue Devils continued to struggle for consistent scoring and the Tar Heels put the pedal to the metal to start the half. It was still a 17-point lead for UNC with under 4 minutes to go, and the Dukies were never able to get any closer than 13 - at 80-67. The Tar Heels finished with a really shocking 62 points in the paint - even with Williamson out that is still an incredible amount to surrender by the Blue Devils. Cam Johnson was briefly injured in the second half for North Carolina, but returned to finish with 26 points on 11 of 17 shooting with 7 rebounds. Luke Maye finished his massive night with 30 points and 15 rebounds and was the easy choice for player of the game. Garrison Brooks added 14 points and 8 rebounds as well for the Tar Heels as they coasted to an impressive 88-72 victory at Cameron Indoor. R.J. Barrett did what he could to try and keep the Blue Devils in it as he finished with 33 points on 11-22 shooting with 13 rebounds. Cam Reddish also had 27 as the duo accounted for 60 of Duke's 72 total points. In fact, only one other Blue Devil had more than 3 points in this one. The Dukies finished just 8/39 from 3-point range (20%) and will certainly need to make some adjustments if Williamson is out going forward. In the end, it was Williamson that was the story in this one though. He got to experience one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports for all of 36 seconds before going down with an injury that could potentially change the landscape in all of college basketball. Hopefully the young man is alright and has avoided anything serious, but for the potential number 1 overall pick in this year's NBA draft, it might be enough to sit out the remainder of the season no matter the severity of the injury. In a game that was as hyped as any in a legendary rivalry - even former President Obama was in attendance - it was an injury less than a minute into the game that stole the show.
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