CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—Duke junior attackman Justin Guterding tallied a game-high six points and senior Kyle Rowe won 14 of the game’s final 15 faceoffs to lead the 11th-ranked Blue Devils to a thrilling 12-8 come-from-behind victory over No. 16 North Carolina in ACC men’s lacrosse action Sunday night.
Duke (8-3, 1-1 ACC) trailed 6-1 early in the second quarter before storming back in thrilling fashion for its first ACC win of the year. The Blue Devils held North Carolina (5-5, 0-1) to just two goals in the final 41:47.
Trailing 8-7 after 45 minutes of lacrosse, Duke sophomore midfielder Brad Smith tied the game for the second time on a pass from rookie Reilly Walsh. That goal from Smith sparked the Blue Devils’ 5-0 run in the fourth quarter. The next 11 minutes proved to be the Guterding and Rowe show. The Garden City, N.Y., native gave Duke the lead 9-8 at the 11:00 minute mark off of a feed from Mitch Russell and Bruckner threw in his fourth at the 7:05 mark to make it a two-goal game, 10-8.
Guterding, now just three points shy of becoming the fastest Blue Devil to 200 points, tacked on two more goals to ice the victory for the Blue Devils. Lowrie assisted on both tallies, including a nifty feed to Guterding on the doorstep to make it 11-8.
Rowe and Duke’s faceoff wings keyed the fourth-quarter run for the Blue Devils, winning all six draws in the final period. North Carolina won just one faceoff in the second half and only three in the final three quarters.
The Tar Heels jumped all over the Blue Devils, building a 6-1 lead after 18 minutes of action. North Carolina, dominating at the faceoff X in the first quarter and early portion of the second quarter used a balanced offense to build the five-goal lead before the Blue Devils started to chip away midway through the second period.
Facing its largest deficit of the season, Duke stopped its 12:09 scoring drought at the 8:04 mark of the second quarter as Brad Smith found rookie Kevin Quigley to pull the Blue Devils within four, 6-2. Quigley’s tally sparked a 3-0 run from Duke over the next 3:26 to slash the Tar Heel lead to 6-4.
Bruckner and Guterding connected for a second time and Quigley capped the run with his second score of the afternoon and 11th of the year. The Tar Heels and Blue Devils traded goals in the final three minutes to send Duke into the locker room trailing 7-5.
The Blue Devils completed the comeback in the third quarter with a pair of goals from Joey Manown to tie the game 7-7 at the 4:17. North Carolina answered with 7.5 seconds left in the period to regain the 8-7 edge heading into what proved to be Duke’s most dominant quarter.
Timmy Kelly and Luke Goldstock both finished with three points, while Michael Tagliaferri added two tallies for the Tar Heel offense.
Between the pipes, Danny Fowler was credited with six saves, while Brian Balkam had 10 stops. The win was the first for Fowler against the Tar Heels and is the 23rd of his career.
Duke continues ACC play next weekend, hosting Notre Dame April 8 at 12 p.m., on ESPNU.