Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Top 5 North Carolina wins over Duke

With North Carolina and Duke set to renew their rivalry tonight in Cameron Indoor Stadium, here’s how staff writer Ron Green Jr. ranks the five biggest Tar Heel victories in the long series (following Tuesday's list of the biggest Duke victories):

5. North Carolina 75, Duke 73, Feb. 5, 1992, Smith Center

Top-ranked Duke, the defending national champions, brought a 23-game winning streak into the showdown with North Carolina in a thunderously loud arena. It is most memorable for the image of North Carolina center Eric Montross, who had an open gash on his head and another beneath his left eye from the physical game. The Tar Heels held Christian Laettner to 12 points and when it was over, Montross said of Duke, “I was tired of them.”

4. North Carolina 75, Duke 73, March 6, 2005, Smith Center

On Senior Day, the second-ranked Tar Heels trailed No. 6 Duke by nine points with three minutes remaining before storming back to beat the Blue Devils in Roy Williams’ second season as head coach. Marvin Williams’ three-point play with 17 seconds remaining made the difference as the Tar Heels beat Duke for only the third time in 18 games. Afterward, Roy Williams let his players cut down the nets inside the Smith Center.

3. North Carolina 96, Duke 92 (OT), March 2, 1974, Carmichael Auditorium

Eight points, 17 seconds. It was one of the most famous comebacks in sports history when the fourth-ranked Tar Heels rallied from eight down with 17 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime when Walter Davis banked in a 35-foot shot at the buzzer. Duke’s Pete Kramer missed a free throw with four seconds remaining and Duke leading by two, setting in motion the famous shot by Davis. “Some of us believe we can always come back,” North Carolina coach Dean Smith said afterward.

2. North Carolina 77, Duke 74, March 12, 1989, Atlanta

It was a basketball game – the ACC tournament final – but it looked and felt like an alley fight. “Nasty,” is how Duke’s Quin Snyder would describe it. It was a game full of elbows and fouls, its emotional and physical intensity surpassing its artistry. At one point, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina’s Dean Smith got into a shouting match with each other. After four players fouled out and five others finished with four fouls, North Carolina prevailed – but only when Danny Ferry’s three-quarter court shot bounced off the rim.

1. North Carolina 65, Duke 62, Jan. 9, 1965, Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Three nights earlier, North Carolina’s team bus had arrived back in Chapel Hill after a 107-85 loss to Wake Forest to find fourth-year coach Dean Smith being burned in effigy. Going to face the eighth-ranked Blue Devils, Smith had lost all seven meetings with Duke and coach Vic Bubas but it all changed on Jan. 9. With Billy Cunningham (who had pulled down the burning effigy) scoring 22 points and Bob Lewis adding 21, the Tar Heels ended Duke’s 28-game ACC winning streak while holding the Blue Devils 35 points below their average. The Tar Heels closed the season by winning nine of their last 11 games to tie for second in the ACC regular-season race and Dean Smith’s career had taken off.

Think another game belongs on the list, or want to offer a Top 5 of your own? Let us know in the comments section below.


Anonymous said...

March, 2005 was not in Roy's first year as UNC's head coach.

Alex said...

1995 - the 2OT win at Cameron.

Anonymous said...

You would think a writer would do a little research and realize that 2004-2005 was Roys second year back in Carolina blue, but hey what do you expect from the Charlotte Observer.

Anonymous said...

I like that this list has more of a sense of history about it than the one posted yesterday of Duke wins that only included wins since Coach Foster and Coach K revived the Duke program. I have no argument with today's list, but then I remember everyone of those games.

MoBetta said...

If they blackout ESPN here in Atlanta for this game there's going to be a problem! Listening to anyone other than Dickie V is a waist of time!!!

Brian said...

That's a great list. But I vividly remember another one, the regular-season meeting at Duke during the 1988-89 season. Earlier in the day we learned Jeff Lebo would not play because of a sprained ankle. I was deflated by that news, thinking Carolina didn't have a shot without its top outside threat. Well, not only did Carolina win, it was going away.

Brian said...

I could talk about this topic all day. Another season that stands out is 1989-90. This was one of Dean Smith's "weaker" teams, winning only 21 games but coming together late to shock #1 OU in the second round and extending the streak of Sweet 16 appearances. Duke was powerful, eventually losing in the NCAA championship game. But Carolina went 2-0 against Duke, embarrassing the Devils at home and pulling another surprise in Cameron. King Rice had Bobby Hurley's number.

Josh said...

you have to include 2001 at cameron. brendan redeemed himself with two late freethrows to ice the game. a big deal considering he bricked both in the exact same situation a few years earlier.

Also include the entire 1997-98 series of three: Carolina destroys Duke at home, Duke wins a nailbiter at Cameron, and Carolina crushes Duke in the ACC tournament final. My favorite game next to 2005.