DURHAM, N.C., Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A career-best, 34-point performance by Nolan Smith Wednesday rallied No. 5 Duke from a big halftime deficit to a 79-73 victory over 21st-ranked North Carolina.
The Blue Devils moved 1 1/2 games in front of their old rival for the lead in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The teams will close out the regular season against each other on North Carolina's home floor March 5.
The Tar Heels took a 14-point halftime lead, but Duke caught up midway through the second period and grabbed the lead for good on Ryan Kelly's 3-pointer with 9:16 to play.
Seth Curry added 22 points for Duke (22-2, 9-1 ACC) and he combined with Smith to make 21-of-35 shots. The rest of the Blue Devils went 7-of-33.
Kyle Singler made just three field goals in 17 tries and scored 10 points for Duke.
Tyler Zeller led North Carolina (17-6, 7-2) with 24 points and 13 rebounds.