CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Joel Berry II shot perfect from 3-point attempts on his way to scoring a game-high 28 points in front of the legendary Michael Jordan, and No. 5 North Carolina to a 90-83 victory over No. 17 Duke in college basketball action on Saturday night.
Berry, who went 9-for-14 overall from the floor, was 5-of-5 from 3-point range for the Tar Heels (26-6, 14-4 ACC), who shot 50.7 percent as a team.
The junior guard scored 19 of his points in the first half.
“I think our guys did a great job of just focusing in on the game today and not worrying about (how) if we lose, we’re still the ACC champs,” Berry said.
“This gives us a little confidence going into the ACC Tournament, just like last year.”
“He (Berry) got in a groove early. We had a couple miscommunications on the defensive end that got him those open shots,” said Duke senior Matt Jones, who was 0-for-3 on shooting without a point.
“You can’t let a good player get in their comfort zone.”
Isaiah Hicks, who missed the road defeat to Duke last month because of injury, added 21 points and nine rebounds, while Justin Jackson finished with 15 points on 6-for-17 shooting and went 1-for-7 from 3-point range.
Luke Kennard led the way for Duke with 28 points on 9-for-17 shooting, while pulling down five rebounds in the defeat.
Freshman guard Frank Jackson added 15 points and six rebounds, Grayson Allen scored 14 points off the bench and freshman Jayson Tatum had 13 points and five boards for the Blue Devils (23-8, 11-7 ACC), who enters the ACC Tournament as the fifth seed and must play in the second round of the tournament on Wednesday.
Amile Jefferson contributed 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks for Duke, which shot 44.4 percent, but had just eight assists on 24 made field goals.
“You saw a game where a lot of guys played well,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “And that’s it.
“Sometimes, it’s not nuclear science here. It’s that easy.”
North Carolina, which had already won the ACC regular season title, certainly made its case for a No. 1 seed at the NCAA tournament later this month.