Leaky Black on North Carolina's slow start vs. Duke: 'We got punched in the mouth'
North Carolina struggled early and often in Saturday night’s 87-67 loss to Duke.
It was one of the worst defeats the Tar Heels have suffered at home to the Blue Devils in the last 40 seasons. It was just the fourth time in Mike Krzyzewski’s career that he has defeated UNC by 20+ points in Chapel Hill.
The struggles started in the first few minutes — North Carolina big man Armando Bacot picked up two pick fouls before the under-16 timeout. Duke freshmen Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin shot the ball well early on.
The result was a 31-8 start to the game for Duke. After the game, Black acknowledged North Carolina’s early struggles and the impact they had on the rest of the game.
“We got punched in the mouth,” Black told reporters after the game on Saturday. “Right from the tip … We came out, I guess we thought it was going to be easy, I’m not sure. But we got punched in the mouth and that’s just what it was.”
Offensively, North Carolina didn’t have much going outside of Brady Manek’s 3-point shot. Manek finished with 21 points and made 6-of-10 attempts from long range.
North Carolina’s other four starters combined to score 35 points on 35 shot attempts. That included a combined 1-for-8 mark from beyond the arc.
This is a devastating loss for North Carolina, who entered this game on a four-game winning streak. The Tar Heels are still in search of a signature win this season and are firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
UNC faces Clemson on the road on Tuesday.