GREENSBORO, NC - Nolan Smith had 20 points and 10 assists and No. 5 Duke ended No. 6 North Carolina's run of big comebacks at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, beating the Tar Heels 75-58 in Sunday's championship game.
Kyle Singler added 11 points for the Blue Devils (30-4), who led the entire way for a record 19th tournament title. In the first meeting between the fierce rivals in the finals in a decade, second-seeded Duke led by 18 points in the first half and never let the top-seeded Tar Heels (26-7) build any momentum for a third straight tournament escape.
North Carolina had rallied from 19 down in the final 10 minutes to beat Miami on a last-play layup in the quarterfinals, then rallied from 14 down to force overtime and beat Clemson in the semifinals. This time, however, the Tar Heels got no closer than nine after halftime as the veteran Blue Devils maintained firm control from the tip.