Top 5 Games vs Duke over last 10 years

Over the past ten years we’ve had our battles with that school in Durham, with the Tar Heels on a 10-15 record over that timeframe (FYI, all-time series is 140-114). It’s the game all Tar Heel fans look forward to, it’s the game all basketball fans look forward to… it is the biggest rivalry in sports.

I’ve been looking back through the box scores, the highlights, the shoes worn (hint hint Zion) and I wanted to give my opinion on the best Tar Heel games we’ve had this last decade against Dook.


Date: March 5th, 2011
Location: Chapel Hill
Result: 81-67 W

The 2010-2011 season was always going to be better than the 17 loss season the year before (Coach William’s worst record), but #13 UNC taking down #4 Duke on Senior Night has got to be one of the best moments.

“The last 10 months haven’t been very easy a lot of the times, but that crowd in that locker room has been fantastic. As a coach, where you get your strength is your relationship with the players. This group has been phenomenal to work with.”

Coach Roy Williams

A team filled with talent including; Harrison Barnes (FR), John Henson (SO), Kendall Marshall (FR), Tyler Zeller (JR), Dexter Strickland (SO) and Leslie McDonald (SO) really showed out in the Dean Dome.

Freshmen Barnes delivered with 18 points and Marshall controlled the offense with 15 points and 11 assists (including a huge spin move, you must have seen on YouTube before). Tyler Zeller was also dominant with some huge slams over the Dookies. While Dexter Strickland’s posterizer will forever live in Tar Heels minds.

A highlight for me was watching Mason Plumlee foul out (you couldn’t help but dislike the Plumlee brothers) and also seeing Coach K on all fours banging the floor at the Smith Center in frustration. You love to see it!

Duke did try to fight back with Nolan Smith nailing 30 against us (it always felt like players could have their season-highs against us), also Seth Curry dropped 20 with 6 from behind the arc.

Even with this from Dook, the Tar Heels led by 12 at half-time and never let them get closer than 5. This resulting in UNC clinching the ACC Regular Season Championship.


Date: March 3rd, 2012
Location: Durham
Result: 88-70 W

It was 24 days earlier we had ‘that’ game in Chapel Hill, it tipped off at 2am GMT and I remember watching Austin Rivers shot go in around 4am, mad as hell. Dook fans didn’t want to let us forget (still don’t) and kept playing the shot before the game. Kendall Marshall in his second season with UNC got the team in a huddle.

“I told my teammates I thought that was disrespectful, and we need to go out here and prove a point. It left a bad taste in our mouths.”

Kendall Marshall

Kendall had 20 and 10 that night and he rallied the rest of the Heels. A team with the likes of; Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Reggie Bullock, PJ Hairston, James Michael McAdoo… this time was packed with ability.

Tar Heels were #6 in the country and Duke were #4 with the likes of the Plumlee Brothers, Austin Rivers and Seth Curry, but they were no issue to North Carolina this night. UNC led the whole daggum game!

Zeller was getting heckled throughout the night due to the previous game and his reply was 19 points and 10 rebounds. Barnes added 16 points as well.

Like last years game, it was a winner take all season finale for the ACC Regular Season Title.. again it was the boys in Carolina Blue.


Date: February 20th, 2014
Location: Chapel Hill
Result: 74-66 W

Who remembers Second Half Paige?! When Marcus would just turn it on in the second half and the opposition didn’t have a chance. In this game, that happened with Paige scoring all his 13 points in the last 20 minutes.

UNC were unranked in this matchup against #5 Duke, but that didn’t concern the Tar Heels who won their eighth straight game. It was time for Senior Leslie McDonald to dominate his last game against Duke in Chapel Hill with 21 points.

“I’m not going to say we’re a finished product because we’ve got games left, but man, we’re playing really well right now and we’re winning games in a lot of different ways.”

Marcus Paige

This was a strange season with losses against; Belmont, UAB and starting the ACC with 0-3. It was also the same season that included wins against; #1 Michigan State, #3 Louisville, #11 Kentucky and a 12 game winning streak in ACC.

The Duke team was led by Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, the team even still had a Plumlee brother on it, but still wasn’t enough to overcome the Heels.

James Michael McAdoo provided some big highlights with a double-double and McDonald’s 21 will live in the minds of many Tar Heels before they rushed Franklin Street, man I loved this team!


Date: March 5th, 2017
Location: Chapel Hill
Result: 90-83 W

Michael Jordan heads onto the court at Half-Time to promote the UNC Football Program and partnership with Jordan Brand, including the VERY memorable Ceiling Is The Roof speech. AMAZING.

Luckily though, that was not the only highlight on the night in Chapel Hill and Joel Berry II had a game to remember. HECK A SEASON TO REMEMBER. SPOILER.

Joel dropped 28 points with 5 from 5 from deep as leading scorer Justin Jackson did struggle from behind the arc, although still providing 15 points.

Finally, the Plumlee Brothers have left Durham so the Heels needed someone else to hate… welcome Grayson Allen. Watching him miss three free throws in the final 3 minutes of a game is always fun to see. Jayson Tatum never got going, but even 28 points from Luke Kennard wasn’t enough.

Joel stole the show that night in Chapel Hill as #5 UNC took down #17 Duke with 7 straight baskets late in the game. Isaiah Hicks hit 21 points as well in a game with 24 lead changes and 14 ties before UNC pushed away.

“You know what? Big-time players have got to make big-time plays in big-time games.”

Coach Roy Williams

This was a big-time highlight in a big-time season and we all know how it ended. CEILING IS THE ROOF.


Date: February 21st, 2019.
Location: Durham
Result: 88-72 W

30 seconds into the game, you didn’t expect to know the winner of the game but I remember watching the game and Zion Williamson’s foot blew through his Nike shoe and was out for the whole game… you knew.

It was 2am GMT, I’ve been nervous all season to face Zion and #1 Dook, then this happened and our Seniors balled out; Luke Maye (30pts) and Cam Johnson (26pts) had nights to remember.

Luke Maye was the star of the show with 30 and 15 in Durham as the game was joined by the presence of President Barack Obama, Spike Lee and Ken Griffey Jr. Duke still had RJ Barret and Cam Reddish on their team with the absence of Zion, but UNC took advantage of the hole left in the paint by outscoring Duke 62-28 with their scoring inside.

First, I’m thinking if he’s OK, man and I hope he makes a quick recovery. But when he goes down, I’m obviously trying to attack — and I was going to do that anyway. I was going to try to get inside and work inside out and just play my game and play the way I know I can play.”

Luke Maye

UNC took down the #1 Duke, first time we’ve beat #1 since Michigan State in 2013. For me this was such a memorable game because I’ll admit I didn’t have high hopes for this game all year long and then boy was I proven wrong!

Garrison Brooks bagged 14 points alongside Cam’s 26 (none of them 3 pointers by the way). A match that was obviously going to be overshadowed on SportsCenter for other reasons, UNC took down #1 Dook and it felt so good.


Date: March 5th, 2016
Location: Durham
Result: 76-72 W

UNC do what UNC do and outrebounded Duke with 64-29 rebounds. We just bullied those Dookies off their own court. Brice Johnson finished with 18 points and 21 boards!!

Date: March 9th, 2018
Location: Brooklyn
Result: 74-69 W

Grayson Allen is one of most disgusting players to pick up a basketball. Allen tripped Garrison Brooks in the ACC Semi-Final, but him playing for a full 40 minutes and still seeing Dook lose was amazing to see. Luke Maye finished with 17 and 10.

Date: March 9th, 2019
Location: Chapel Hill
Result: 79-70 W

North Carolina take down #1 Dook again for a regular season sweep. Coby White with 21 points and Maye with 7 points, 7 assists and 11 rebounds. WHAT A TEAM!


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