In a game of sustained runs, Duke made the last one behind the clutch shooting of J.J. Redick to claim an 87-83 road victory over North Carolina at the Smith Center.
After seeing a 17 point second half lead turn into a late five point deficit, Redick took the game over down the stretch to carry his team back into the lead and onto victory.
The senior All-American canned a three pointer with 4:23 to go to trim UNC's lead back to two at 71-69. He knotted the game with two free throws less than a minute later, then buried another two long range bombs to put Duke up 84-77 inside one minute to go.
Carolina refused to wilt even then. Sean Dockery missed two free throws after Tyler Hansbrough cut the lead to 84-79 with a jumper in the lane. Dockery chased his own rebound and committed a loose ball foul against Bobby Frasor, who proceeded to make two free throws to pull the Tar Heels back within three.
Redick then turned the ball over against UNC's full court pressure when he threw a pass out of bounds intended for Greg Paulus when Paulus cut to the middle of the floor.
Frasor immediately hit a floater in the lane to make it a one point game. Paulus made two big free throws to push the lead back to three before UNC's Danny Green attempted a two point shot even though his team trailed by three. The shot missed and Shelden Williams corralled the rebound and hit one of two free throws to seal the four point win.
Redick scored 35 points on the night to again lead Duke, but the Blue Devils got scoring from several places.
Sean Dockery was very instrumental in the win, scoring 14 points and making 4-of-6 from three point range, including one deep bomb from the left wing with 2:53 remaining to forge Duke ahead 74-73.
Josh McRoberts scored a season high 17 points to help Williams carry the load inside. The freshman post was a perfect 4-of-4 from the foul line, made one three pointer, and was the recipient of one pass from Dockery early in the second half that resulted in a rim rocking reverse slam.
The game shifted momentum on a few occasions, though Duke held the lead for nearly all of the first half.
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 13-5 lead and extended the lead to 26-15 with 8:30 to play in the first half.
North Carolina countered that run with a run of its own, as the Tar Heels went on a 10-0 spurt to climb within one at 26-25. Two key three point baskets from Dockery helped Duke push the lead back up 40-35 at halftime.
The second half started as if Duke was going to blow UNC right out of its own building.
Duke scored the first 12 points of the half to go up 52-35 and again led by 17 at 54-37 when Williams answered a Quentin Thomas basket with a goal of his own on a controversial goaltending call.
The Tar Heels responded before an increasingly frenzied home crowd with a 12-0 run to climb back into the game. The 17 point lead was gone in a matter of nine minutes when Reyshawn Terry tied the game 61-61 with a three pointer at the 7:14 mark of the game.
David Noel made a three pointer following two free throws from McRoberts to give Carolina its first lead since the opening minutes at 64-63.
Looking fatigued, Duke fell behind by five at 71-66 before the Devils summoned the energy and courage to make their final charge.
North Carolina dominated the middle portion of the second half by pounding the offensive glass and getting Duke into foul trouble.
The Tar Heels won the overall rebounding battle by a count of 45-26 and dominated the offensive boards 22-7. Hansbrough contributed six of those offensive rebounds, using second chance points as a major tool on his way to a 14 point performance.
Carolina placed five players in double figures while Duke countered with four players scoring 10 points or more.
Despite only scoring six points, Paulus had seven assists to help offset his four turnovers and played admirably in his first Duke-UNC battle.
In the end though, this game was all about Redick's ability to rise to the occasion when his team needed him the most. Despite his struggles from the field for much of the game, his flurry at the finish made his numbers look about like they always do.
35 points on 5-of-10 three point shooting and 12-of-22 shooting overall.
The win moves Duke to 10-0 in the ACC and gives the Devils their sixth win in their last eight trips to Chapel Hill.