Duke-North Carolina, Round 2 for 2017

 

 

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The second game of the  2017 basketball season between Duke and North Carolina unfolds Saturday night in Chapel Hill. Last month, Duke held the Tar Heels at bay in Durham by an 86-78 score.   These games are always exciting and seem to go down to the final seconds. Let’s look back, in chronological order, at some of the more memorable games and moments between the schools.

In the March 2, 1974 game in Chapel Hill, UNC trailed Duke by eight points with 17 seconds to go. Two Carolina free throws cut the deficit to six then UNC stole two consecutive in bounds passes that led to easy scores. After a missed Blue Devil free throw, UNC had the ball down by three with three seconds left in the contest. UNC freshman Walter Davis banked in a 30-foot shot to send the game into overtime, where the Tar Heels prevailed, 96-92.

At the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Greensboro, NC on March 10, 1984, number one ranked UNC, led by Michael Jordan, played Duke in the semifinals. Behind the efforts of Tommy Amaker and Johnny Dawkins, Duke led by two late in the game. The Tar Heels’ Matt Doherty prepared to throw the ball in with three seconds left and UNC with a chance to win or force overtime. Doherty threw the ball away and Duke pulled off the upset, 77-75.

The February 5, 1992 game in Chapel Hill will be remembered as one of the more physical battles between the two schools. Duke’s Bobby Hurley suffered a broken foot, but the lasting image will always be Carolina’s Eric Montross at the free throw line late in the game with blood pouring down his face. Carolina edged Duke, 75-73.

At Cameron Indoor Arena in Durham on February 2, 1995, the Tar Heels escaped with a 102-100 double overtime victory. Two of the more memorable moments occurred when ESPN analyst Dick Vitale nearly fell out of his chair after UNC’s Jerry Stackhouse executed a thunderous dunk while being fouled and Duke’s Jeff Capel hit a 37-foot basket that sent the game to double overtime.

The next memorable game took place in Chapel Hill on February 28, 1998. The Blue Devils trailed the Tar Heels by 15 points in the first half, but Duke freshman Elton Brand got hot and the Blue Devils overtook UNC in the second half.  Still, UNC had chances in the final seconds to tie the game, but two different Tar Heels missed free throws. Coach Mike Krzyzewski earned his 500th career win as the Blue Devils won another close one, 77-75.

A classic took place in the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill on February 8, 2012. Carolina led most of the game but could never pull away from the Blue Devils. Duke freshman Austin Rivers cast himself as a legend in this storied rivalry with a three-pointer at the buzzer to propel Duke to an 85-84 victory.

These memorable moments demonstrate a small portion of the plays, players, and pictures so indelibly etched in the memories of Tar Heel, Blue Devil, and college basketball fans. Both teams are generally ranked and fighting for ACC championships and seeding in the national tournament every year, so these games carry even more weight than that of a simple rivalry. Yet, no matter the records or which team supposedly has the better players or coaches, these games transcend mortal logic and metaphysical boundaries. The sublime seems to be the norm. Carolina-Duke may arguably be the greatest rivalry in all of sports.

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