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Duke beats North Carolina in the ACC Tournament because they have Zion Williamson and the Tar Heels don’t


Duke and North Carolina played a thriller in the ACC Tournament semifinals on Friday night, with the Blue Devils ultimately coming out on top 74-73. The Tar Heels won the previous two meetings, and the first matchup was the game Zion Williamson’s shoe fell apart and he suffered a knee injury. Williamson missed the second matchup entirely, which North Carolina won 79-70.

But Williamson was healthy for Friday night’s game, and more or less carried Duke to a victory. He didn’t go 13-of-13 from the field like Thursday night, but 13-of-19 (3-of-3 at the line) with 31 points and 11 rebounds will certainly get the job done.

This crazy tip-in from Williamson following his own shot served as the game-winner:

If not for Zion, North Carolina likely wins this game by double-digits.

RJ Barrett scored 15 points for Duke, but did so inefficiently on 5-of-15 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 at the line. Trey Jones chipped in 11 points, but his points were also accumulated in ugly fashion (5-of-14 from the field, 1-of-5 on threes). Nobody else on Duke scored over six points, and the Blue Devils’ bench totaled six points.

Zion is just too good, and as long as he’s healthy, he’ll give Duke an unfair advantage over any team they play: having a 6’7″, 284-pound monster — with otherworldly athleticism — that would already be putting up big numbers in the NBA (and is a lock to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft).

Zion and Duke will try to win the ACC Tournament on Saturday night against a red-hot Florida State team.

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