by Mike Fitzpatrick, Associated Press
BROOKLYN — Jayson Tatum scored 24 points and No. 14 Duke rallied past No. 6 North Carolina with another lightning-fast surge in the second half, taking advantage of foul trouble for Tar Heels point guard Joel Berry II and beating its fierce rival 93-83 on Friday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference semifinals.
Luke Kennard had 20 points and Grayson Allen added 18 off the bench for the Blue Devils (26-8), who will play for the title Saturday night in Brooklyn against No. 16 Florida State or No. 22 Notre Dame.
By winning the second game between the teams in seven days, fifth-seeded Duke took two of three in the season series against the top-seeded Tar Heels (27-7). It was their first ACC Tournament matchup since the Blue Devils won the 2011 championship game.
The rubber match this year was settled on the streets of New York City rather than Tobacco Road, some 500 miles from the Dean Dome and Cameron Indoor Stadium as the ACC took its postseason showcase to the Big Apple for the first time.
Regardless of the locale, this edition of the storied rivalry had many of the usual elements — complete with players and roaring blue-clad fans from both teams taking issue with the officiating.
Perhaps the primary missing staple was a tense finish after Duke outscored defending champion North Carolina by 15 points during a 10-minute span while Berry was on the bench with four fouls. The decisive spurt put the Blue Devils ahead 77-70 after Allen hit Harry Giles for an alley-oop slam with 5:30 left, and they cruised home from there.
Kennedy Meeks had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the taller, deeper and more experienced Tar Heels, who dominated inside early but blew a 13-point lead in the second half. They squandered a chance to tie Duke for the most ACC Tournament titles and might have cost themselves a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Freshman guard Frank Jackson added 15 points for Duke, which quickly climbed out of a 12-point hole in the second half of Thursday's quarterfinal win over No. 10 Louisville.