CHAPEL HILL, N.C. >> Duke’s Tyus Jones had another big finish to help the third-ranked Blue Devils finish off rival North Carolina.
The freshman scored 17 of his season-high 24 points in the second half to help the Blue Devils shoot 59 percent after the break and beat the 19th-ranked Tar Heels 84-77 on Saturday night.
The Blue Devils (28-3, 15-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) capitalized on a handful of key turnovers by the Tar Heels (21-10, 11-7) to finally get a fragile hold on a game in which neither team could get many second-half stops.
Quinn Cook added 20 points for Duke, including a tough floater to beat the shot clock with about 4 minutes left as the Blue Devils worked to hang on for their 11th straight win.
The latest renewal of the fierce rivalry was a competitive fight throughout, with UNC shooting 58 percent after halftime but unable to catch up once Duke finally got the game turned with about 6 1/2 minutes left.
Marcus Paige matched his season high with 23 points and hit five 3-pointers to lead the Tar Heels. Brice Johnson added 17 on 8-for-12 shooting.
The Tar Heels had let one get away in the first meeting at Cameron Indoor Stadium, blowing a 10-point lead in the final 4 minutes of regulation before falling 92-90 in overtime. Paige had said that raised the stakes even more for his team, only to see Jones take over late Saturday just as he did in the first meeting.
Jones had 22 points in that one, including a run of nine straight during Duke’s frantic comeback.
He finished with six rebounds and seven assists, and went 12 for 12 from the foul line in the rematch.
Duke shot miserably to start the game, trailed 33-31 at halftime and faced a seven-point deficit with about 14 minutes left. But Jones and Cook kept Duke’s offense rolling on a night when the Tar Heels again did a solid job defending star freshman big man Jahlil Okafor (14 points, 7-for-9 shooting).
The key stretch came when Jones hit a 3 after a UNC turnover, then fed Cook for another one on the next possession — again, after a turnover — to suddenly give Duke a 68-59 lead with less than 6 1/2 minutes left.
From there, Duke kept coming up with baskets to turn away UNC’s comeback bids, which got the Tar Heels as close as five in the final stages.
For the second straight meeting, the teams had a moment of pregame rivalry respect. After gathering at midcourt to honor the late Dean Smith before the first game, UNC honored Krzyzewski before this one for reaching 1,000 career wins this season.
Not that things didn’t get a little chippy.
Freshman Justice Winslow was called for an offensive foul in the final minute of the first half with a karate-style kick to Johnson’s midsection on a drive, then picked up a flagrant foul 90 seconds into the second half when he tripped Justin Jackson during a scramble for a rebound.
>> Duke: Duke went nearly 10 minutes between baskets at one point in the first half and shot 33 percent before the break. … Winslow finished with 13 points. … Duke went 9-for-25 from 3-point range.
>> UNC: Jackson scored 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting. … UNC shot 8-for-16 from 3-point range. … Kennedy Meeks managed two points on 1-for-7 shooting.
Duke begins play in the ACC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.
UNC begins play in the ACC tournament second round on Wednesday.