Home / Sports / 2019 ACC Tournament: Zion Williamson stars for Duke in win to give Blue Devils a third match against UNC

2019 ACC Tournament: Zion Williamson stars for Duke in win to give Blue Devils a third match against UNC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke and Zion Williamson celebrated the superstar action at the ACC tournament with a performance that showed every aspect of why, even after having missed five games due to injury, he was named ACC's Player of the Year. There were dunks, rebounds, steals, three-pointers, a perfect field-goal percentage and lots of viral-ready highlights that have become the trademark of Zion's basketball career.

Williamson finished the game with 29 points on 13-for-13 shots with 14 rebounds, five steals and one block. Star freshman was a one man wrestling crew from the moment the game started. Worry about the health of his knee? Keep in mind that it is washed away with the power of his cruel open floor dump in the opening minute of the 84-72 victory against Syracuse.

At beating Syracuse, Duke goes to the ACC tournament semi-finals to meet North Carolina for the third time in less than a month. Only this time, with full strength Zion expected to play a full game, the blue devils will get significantly better odds of taking down Tar Heels.

Williamson put in bed the conversation to "shut down" before returning and stressed the desire to experience the rest of this season with his teammates and run a national championship. When he walked away from the floor of the Smith Center on Saturday night after sitting out for a fifth straight game, Zion certainly knew there was a chance that Duke would have another crack at Tar Heels. The hope for his return to action has been built since the moment his shoe exploded 36 seconds into the first meeting against the UNC, but then expects Williamson to lead Duke in violation of rival Tar Heels.

This will be the third straight year Duke and North Carolina have played the ACC tournament and the 23rd tournament meeting all the time and each game carries different weight and importance from year to year. Usually, the stakes are low compared to what you would expect from a tough rivalry like this and the usual tensions of the championship week. Both teams are usually quite locked in their NCAA tournament future, not only safe in the tournament, but relatively in their sowing, and the atmosphere can approach an exciting time season's neutral showcase. Both teams want to win, surely, but not to lose drastically change their immediate or long-term future.

Friday night's primetime showdown in the semi-finals is different, as the stakes for the NCAA tournament couldn't be higher.

Both teams are in the mix for a No 1

seed, which can almost double your chances of making the Final Four as opposed to landing on the No. 2 line. North Carolina can strengthen its argument for the selection committee by finally taking down a Zion-powered Duke team for the rare 3-game sweep in rivalry – a feat not achieved since Duke won all three meetings in 2002. If it beats North Carolina, The Duke can distinguish that result from his Zion-less losses to Tar Heels and possibly get a chance to face Virginia, probably the only "lock" for a No 1 seed in the Saturday night championship game.

That's what makes Friday night so interesting. Not that we get Duke and North Carolina in the ACC tournament, but that we get the game in a time when so much is still at stake for both of these national title teams.

2019 ACC Tournament Schedule

Location ]: Spectrum Center – Charlotte, North Carolina
Stream: WatchESPN | Follow live: CBS Sports App

All times east; some start times were approximated

Semifinals – Friday, March 15
Games 12: No 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 Florida State – 7 p.m. on ESPN
Games 13: No 2 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Duke – 9 p.m. on ESPN

ACC tournament championship game – Saturday, March 16
Games 14 – Games 12 winners vs. Game 13 winners – 8:30 pm on ESPN

Check out the updated ACC Tournament bracket here.

2019 ACC tournament live updates, highlights

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2019 ACC Tournament Results, Results

Quarter Finals – Thursday, March 14
Games 8: No. 1 Virginia 76, No. 8 NC State 56
Games 9: No. 4 Florida State 65, No. Virginia Tech 63 Game 10: No 2 North Carolina 83, No. 7 Louisville 70
Game 11: No. 3 Duke 84, no. 6 Syracuse 72

Second Round – Wednesday, March 13

Games 4: No. 8 NC State 59, No. 9 Clemson 58
Game 5: No. 5 Virginia Tech 71, no. 12 Miami 56
Games 6: No 7 Louisville 75, No 15 Notre Dame 53
Games 7: No 6 Syracuse 73, No 14 Pitt 59

First Round – Tuesday, March 12
Games 1: No 12 Miami 79, no. 13 Wake Forest 71
Games 2: No. 15 Notre Dame 78, No. 10 Georgia Tech 71
Games 3: No. 14 Pitt 80, No. 11 Boston College 70

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