DURHAM (Sporting Alert) — Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook each scored 22 points and No. 4 Duke rallied late in regulation on their way to a 92-90 win over North Carolina on Wednesday night.
Senior Cook, who scored 15 of his tallied points in the first half, knocked down 6-of-9 from three-point range and also grabbed four rebounds and three assists, while freshman guard Jones went 7-of-16 from the field on his way to matching his season best, while adding eight assists and seven rebounds for Duke (23-3, 10-3 ACC).
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was full of praises for his freshman point guard Jones.
“He’s good,” Krzyzewski said. “You start out with that. One of the reasons we waited three years to get him is because I thought he had special qualities, not just special talents.
“It shows up in big games and big moments. What is interesting is that he passed up a wide open three. (Amile) Jefferson and the guys got on him. The next time he hit it. Sometimes he would rather have someone else do it, but when he took the wheel the car finished in first place. He was tremendous.”
Justise Winslow finished with 16 points and seven boards, Amile Jefferson added 13 points, six blocks and five rebounds, while Jahlil Okafor shook off an ankle problem to contribute 12 points and 13 rebounds in the win for the Blue Devils.
Okafor started impressively, but the Duke freshman was forced to leave the game in the first half after rolling his ankle when landing awkwardly trying to shoot over a North Carolina player.
The Cameron Indoor Stadium went from being crazy loud to a complete hush on Wednesday night when Okafor went down and had to be helped back into the locker room for treatment.
He made a surprised return to the bench and then entered the court towards the end of the first half before starting the action in the second half after getting his left ankle retaped.
Coach Krzyzewski said the player would be seeing the trainer for a re-evaluation on Thursday before deciding on whether he can feature on Saturday.
“Sometimes you can play the night of the game because your adrenaline is moving, especially for big guys,” Krzyzewski told reporters.
“We’ll see if he’s going to be ready for Saturday. We can’t practice tomorrow anyway, but we’ll get him some rest.
“I would think he’s going to play, but we don’t know that.”
The 19-year-old was collecting his 10th double-double of the season, which is the second-most by any freshman behind UCLA’s Kevon Looney, who has 13.
Trailing 49-42 going into halftime after trimming a 13 point deficit, the Tar Heels started the second half quickly and went on a 13-0 run to take a 56-53 lead with 14:31 left in regular time.
The gap was increased to 77-67 with 3:56 until Duke staged its comeback when Jones and Winslow combined to score the last 16 Blue Devils points to send the game into overtime.
Jones scored the game tying layup with 0:29 remaining in regulation to setup the first overtime battle between the two sides since 2004.
Brice Johnson, who scored 12 points in the first half, paced North Carolina with 18 points and 12 rebounds in the defeat.
Fellow forward Kennedy Meeks added 18 points and seven boards, while Isaiah Hicks had 12 points and Nate Britt collected 11 off the bench for North Carolina (18-8, 8-5 ACC), which dropped two in a row and four in the last five games.
The Tar Heels led 81-76 with 0:46 seconds remaining in regulation, but failed to hold on for the win as Jones scored five unanswered points.
“Well, it’s extremely disappointing,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “If you didn’t care who won the game, you had to enjoy a great college basketball game.
“It has certainly been hyped the last couple of days. If you happen to just like college basketball, then you had to enjoy that part of it, but I happen to love North Carolina. So, it’s not so agreeable with me.”
Duke, which picked up its first overtime win this season, was securing its six successive win and victory number five in February.
The Blue Devils, who was 50.8 percent from the field overall in the game, shot 58.1 percent from the floor on 18-of-31 shooting in the first half. They also buried 7 of their 16 overall three point attempts in the opening 20 minutes.
Forward Duke star Jabari Parker was in attendance.
Up next for North Carolina is a game at home against Georgia Tech on Saturday, while Duke play hosts to Clemson on the same day.
Elsewhere on Wednesday night, Syracuse scored a 69-59 victory over No. 12 Louisville in another ACC contest, while No. 5 Wisconsin beat Penn State, 55-47 and No. 11 Northern Iowa, 58, held Loyola (IL) to just 39 points to improve their lead in the Missouri Valley Conference.
NCAA Top 25 Results
(4) Duke 92, (15) North Carolina 90
(5) Wisconsin 55, Penn State 47
(11) Northern Iowa 58, Loyola (IL) 39
Syracuse 69, (12) Louisville 59
(14) Iowa State 70, (22) Oklahoma St 65
(18) Arkansas 84, Missouri 69