DURHAM, N.C. (AP)Three players scored nine points and No. 22 North Carolina went 9 of 9 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to deny No. 11 Duke a share of the ACC championship on Sunday with a 45-41 win, the lowest scoring game in the 105 meetings of these bitter rivals.
Combined with No. 10 Notre Dame coming from behind to win at Louisville, the Irish win the conference title outright.
The game was either a defensive masterpiece or an offensive nightmare for the sellout crowd of 9,314. It was the lowest scoring game of the season for both team teams and the lowest score ever in a win for the Tar Heels.
In 112 quarters this season, North Carolina failed to reach double figures just five times but only scored eight in each of the first two quarters to trail 20-16. Duke was in single digits in both the second and third quarters, for 10 on the season.
Duke scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to take a 36-29 lead but shot 2 of 11 with two turnovers from that point and the Blue Devils’ suffocating defense ended up sending the Tar Heels to the foul line.
After Alyssa Ustby got North Carolina on the board, Paulina Paris made four free throws to make it 36-35. Taya Corosdale ended a 5:19 Duke drought but Kennedy Todd-Williams hit a clutch 3-pointer to tie it and followed with two free throws. Deja Kelly then converted a three-point play and the Tar Heels were up 43-38 with 1:16 to play.
Duke got a Shayeann Day-Wilson jumper and after an offensive foul on Kelly, Duke had a chance to pull within one but Kennedy Brown made just 1 of 2 from the line at 37.2 seconds. Kelly iced it with two free throws at 13 seconds.
Kelly, Ustby and Todd-Williams each had nine points for North Carolina (20-9, 11-7), which swept the series for the second straight season.
Elizabeth Balogun led Duke (24-5, 14-4), which was 13-0 at home, with 12 points.
North Carolina shot 34% (15 of 21) with 21 turnovers but went 12 of 15 from the foul line. Duke shot 30% (16 of 53) but was only 5 of 6 from the line and had 25 turnovers.
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