UNC Basketball: Theo Pinson To Return vs. Duke

Duke caught fire from behind the arc, making 13-of-27 attempts from deep, while Carolina shot only 4-of-12 from behind the arc. The Tar Heels share first place in the ACC with Florida State with Virginia a half-game back.

Jim Sumner will be along presently with his take from Cameron. In the final three minutes, the Blue Devils took Carolina completely out of its offense and left the Heels squirming in the heat and the noise of Cameron Indoor.

Seventh-ranked North Carolina has won nine of its last 10 games to surge to the top of the ACC standings, but it has a hard road ahead - including two matchups with arch-rival Duke.

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Duke was able to get to that point because of Allen and Kennard, but also because of Tatum, who's been the best of this year's highly touted freshman class. Tatum, the versatile 6-foor-8 wing, was held scoreless in the first half, only to explode for 19 points in the second half. They're as healthy as they've been all season now and have five players averaging double digits in points, with Luke Kennard (19.8 points, 5.2 rebounds) leading the way. For the first time in a very long time, Allen's performance and all of the talk afterward was only about what he did and what his team did - in victory.

The Tar Heels are 6-0 with Pinson in the lineup this season. Yet North Carolina is 4-1 against teams that rank in the nation's top 50 in tempo, with the only loss being a 103-100 setback against Kentucky in Las Vegas.

While Pinson was available, UNC was without forward Isaiah Hicks, who strained his left hamstring during practice Wednesday. In this hilarious video, the Tar Heel fan donned an Allen jersey and walked around the UNC campus tripping fellow students.

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Justin Jackson pumped in 21 points and Joel Berry had 15 points for North Carolina (21-5, 9-3). Maybe it was a minute and a half later, when he challenged Jayson Tatum at the rim and ended up on a poster. He didn't just lead his team to a win; most of those triples came in big spots, to either give Duke the lead, crack back at a UNC run, or in the case of the final bucket, to firm up victory. Duke will need Allen to excel as a scorer as well as a playmaker and Jackson to facilitate in order to win over the Tar Heels.

A few hours prior to tip-off, the Tar Heels announced forward Theo Pinson will return to the court after missing the past three games with an ankle injury against Virginia Tech back on January 26. It helps to spend the whole game pulling up from three, because clearly North Carolina didn't expect this. Kennedy Meeks grabbed only five rebounds and Luke Maye, starting for Hicks, had just two. Duke is back in action Saturday afternoon against Clemson to wrap up a three-game homestand.

The Blue Devils are healthier.

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