DURHAM, N.C. -- North Carolina's two-year spell over Cameron Indoor Stadium finally wore off last night.
Instead, a frenzied Duke home crowd worked some magic of its own, inspiring the No. 12 Blue Devils to a second-half surge and a convincing 74-60 upset victory.
The No. 5 Tar Heels committed 11 second-half turnovers and shot a horrendous 27.6 percent for the half, Duke broke out of its JTC defensive mode, erasing a 28-24 halftime deficit with a 50-point explosion in the final 20 minutes.
The Tar Heels, who saw their 11-game winning streak ended along with a two-year string in Cameron, fell to 13-2 on the season and 2-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Blue Devils, battling for respect after an upset loss to Virginia two weeks ago, improved to 15-4 and 4-1.
"It was a tremendous basketball game," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "You could not have a more intense basketball game with kids playing better defense. It was just hard for everybody to score tonight."
Defense kept the game close in the first period, with UNC's size and 20-13 rebounding edge proving the difference. But a 10-0 run by the Blue Devils early in the second period kept the Cameron crowd in the game, an ominous sign for UNC.
Duke went from a 34-28 deficit to a 38-34 edge when Thomas Hill hit a three-pointer at the 14:25 mark. During the run, UNC's offense collapsed under Blue Devils pressure, as the Tar Heels missed seven straight shots and committed three turnovers.
Duke built on the momentum and built on the lead, stretching it to 47-40 at the 10:51 mark on a three-point play by Christian Laettner, who scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds
UNC went on an 8-0 run in the final five minutes and a three-point bomb by Hubert Davis brought the Tar Heels to within 58-54 with 3:09 to play.
But then the bottom fell out of the UNC attack with a turnover, two missed shots and a technical foul. The latter, after a UNC foul sent Duke's Billy McCaffrey to the line and iced the victory at the 2:13 mark as he sank both foul shots and Hill sank one technical foul shot to put Duke up 65-54.
Each team struggled against the other's defenses in the first half. The teams combined for 23 turnovers, 14 by UNC. Neither squad managed above a 45 percent shooting clip for the period. Duke sank just 11 of 33 shots for a .333 rate.
The teams started slowly, trying to figure out each other's defense. UNC used its height advantage, challenging the Blue Devils inside en route to an 8-6 lead with 5 minutes, 3 seconds gone.
Duke behind the baseline jump-shooting of Hill, tied it at 10-10 at 11:41. UNC coach Dean Smith then went to his bench, bringing '' in the UNC Blue Team, a group of five reserves.
They took the lead for UNC on a 10-foot bank shot by freshman Brian Reese, then the first team returned at 10:06 and completed a 10-0 run, capped by a 16-foot baseline jumper by Rick Fox to put UNC up, 20-10, at the 7:42 mark.
Meanwhile, the Tar Heels' pressure defense forced Duke into five missed shots and three turnovers. Pete Chilcutt and Kevin Salvadori eached blocked a shot during the run and Chilcutt scored four points, including a backdoor alley-oop from Rice.
But then UNC became too aggressive, and the Blue Devils capitalized on three Tar Heels offensive fouls in the next 4:12 to score eight straight points. Laettner capped the run with two baskets inside to bring Duke to within 20-18 with 3:30 left to play.
Fox finally ended the Tar Heels' drought with a backdoor layup, but the Blue Devils tied the score with 1:36 left when Laettner broke away from Chilcutt for an easy hoop inside to make it 24-24.
The atmosphere in Cameron heated up in the final 1:30 when the trash-talking rivalry between point guards Bobby Hurley and King Rice resumed. As the Durham crowd jeered Rice, he drove to the hoop, was tripped by Laettner and made both foul shots to give the lead back to UNC.
Rice also won the battle on defense, as he forced Hurley to throw the ball away. Fox made the half's final basket on a driving bank shot with 55 seconds remaining to give the Tar Heels a 28-24 lead at the break.
Rice embarrassed Hurley in both meetings last year. In a 79-60 UNC victory at Chapel Hill, Rice allowed him six points and one assist and forced him into 10 turnovers -- a rude awakening for the then-freshman.
Hurley fared better in the teams' next meeting in Cameron -- scoring 16 and dishing out six assists -- but Rice came up with 20 and eight, respectively as the Tar Heels won, 87-75.