Western Courier

Zion Williamson injured in shocking upset to UNC

Bradley Piros, Sports Editor

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Wednesday night saw the “Blue Bloods” battle it out for the first time this season when the University of North Carolina Tarheels took on the Duke University Blue Devils. Duke came into this game the No. 1 while UNC is ranked at the No. 8 spot. UNC won the game 88-72 after an early exit from freshman forward Zion Williamson in the first 40 seconds of the game.

Duke came into the game 9.5-point favorites but couldn’t get the job done without Williamson on their home court of Cameron Indoor Stadium. This was only Duke’s third loss of the regular season, the other two coming from at the time No.3 Gonzaga and unranked Syracuse. Duke lost those games by two points and five points, respectively. The loss against UNC marks their biggest of the season of 16 points.

RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish tried to pick up the slack for Duke without Williamson, but their efforts weren’t enough. Barrett dropped 33 points and picked up 13 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes. Reddish picked up 27 points in 35 minutes.

Duke had three main problems, only nine points coming off the bench, shooting only 20.5 percent from beyond the arch, and overall falling apart without Williamson.

On the other hand, UNC seemed to be doing everything right. Senior forward Luke Maye put up 30 points and 15 rebounds in another dominant performance from him, while senior guard Cameron Johnson dropped 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Sophomore forward Garrison Brooks put up 14 and freshman guard Coby White had nine. UNC only had seven points from the bench and shot only 10 percent from the three-point line, but still picked up the upset victory because they evenly distributed the workload.

Duke this year has been a team that relies on their big three freshman, Williamson, Reddish and Barrett. These are all premiere talents, but the Blue Devils can’t get the job done if one of them goes missing.

Williamson left the game in the 33rd second with a suspected knee injury. As of now, he is listed as day-to-day but only time can tell when he’ll make his return to the court. He’ll need to get back soon though if the Blue Devils have any hope of not getting upset during March Madness.

Duke falls to 23-3 on the season and will look to bounce back tomorrow night at Syracuse, the team that upset them earlier this season. Meanwhile, UNC will host No. 16 Florida State University tomorrow afternoon and look to improve on their now 21-5 record.

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Zion Williamson injured in shocking upset to UNC