Cormac Ryan drops 31 points for North Carolina to clinch outright ACC title on Duke's home floor | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / May 26.
  • Cormac Ryan drops 31 points for North Carolina to clinch outright ACC title on Duke’s home floor

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    Lately, one of the best rivalries in sports has been rather one sided.

    For the second time in three years, Duke’s senior night festivities have been spoiled by RJ Davis and Armando Bacot. The Tar Heels fought off several second half runs by the Blue Devils to escape with an 84-79 win in Durham and clinch an outright ACC title. North Carolina has also completed the regular season sweep of Duke.

    North Carolina is 6-3 against Duke in its last nine games with two wins on Duke senior nights and a win in the school’s first ever meeting in the Final Four. Hubert Davis is 4-3 against Duke in his career and 2-2 against Jon Scheyer.

    This win helps the Tar Heels candidacy for a No. 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament. North Carolina is likely fighting with Tennessee and Arizona for the final No. 1-seed, assuming Purdue, UConn and Houston are locks with each winning their respective conferences. It’s unlikely North Carolina will fall past a No. 2-seed.

    Senior transfer guard Cormac Ryan led the way for the Tar Heels with 31 points on 6-of-8 shooting from 3-point range, including the dagger to put North Carolina up 78-69 with 1:38 to play.

    “Cormac has been here before,” Hubert Davis said on postgame radio. “And he got his career-high. Just amazing. I’m so happy. I’m so proud of him.”

    Surprisingly, both senior leaders for North Carolina, Bacot and Davis, finished with under 10 points. Transfer forward Harrison Ingram was the only other Tar Heel in double-figures with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

    “We fought Davis and Bacot, but we didn’t do the job overall,” Scheyer said on postgame radio.

    Kyle Filipowski willed Duke back into the game with his offense on several occasions and finished with a team-high 23 points in likely his last game in Cameron Indoor. He is projected a lottery pick in 2024 NBA draft mocks. Freshman guard Jared McCain also showed out with 19 points in what could be his last game at home as well.

    North Carolina will be the No. 1-seed in the ACC Tournament and will play the No. 8-seed or No. 9-seed on Thursday, March 14 at noon ET. Duke will also play Thursday at 7 p.m. against either the No. 7-seed or the No. 10 or No. 15-seed.

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