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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Santa Clara, CA

    The Greatest Duke/Carolina Game Ever...?

    I love that Saturday's win means we can debate which amazing Duke comeback vs. UNC is the best/greatest/sweetest. IMO there’s no absolute right or wrong answer, just opinions. Here’s my top 3 (and one thrown in as a nod to Duke greats past):

    Honorable mention: 1968 Duke/Carolina 3OT

    I was in preschool for this one. So even though my dad hated UNC, I didn’t watch the game personally. But given Fred Lind, a benchwarmer, brought them back, it seems quite amazing. From Wikipedia:

    Duke defeated North Carolina 87–86 in triple overtime at Duke Indoor Stadium (later renamed Cameron Indoor Stadium) when seldom used Duke junior Fred Lind erupted for 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks, having previously scored 21 points during his entire career. When Duke All-American center Mike Lewis picked up his third foul in the first half (and Warren Chapman, his backup, had a knee injury), Duke coach Vic Bubas called on Lind to fill the void against UNC greats Rusty Clark and Bill Bunting. Lewis returned in the second half, but fouled out (four Blue Devils and one Tar Heel fouled out of the game) with about five minutes left in regulation when Duke was down by five, and Lind returned to the court. Lind went on to carry the Blue Devils in the three overtimes, blocking North Carolina's shot attempt at the end of regulation, making two free throws at the end of the first overtime, and knocking down a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer to send it into a third overtime. Lind would be celebrated for the action by being carried to Duke's main quad

    Why it’s not at my top?
    Though it went 3 OTs, there was no buzzer beater for the win. Duke was ranked, but even though Carolina won the ACCs that year, it wasn’t such an amazing upset. And, to be honest, I didn't experience it myself. Of course, 3 OTs is amazing, and Lind has to be the biggest surprise hero for Duke in the series. I’d imagine, though, because of heart-pounding, stressful action for another 15 minutes after regulation, this one remains in the minds of Duke fans before my generation.


    Third – 1981 Duke/Carolina 1OT

    For those that were not around… I was in high school watching this one – senior day at Cameron. Carolina had Worthy, Perkins and a guy named Al Wood, who was no college slouch. Worthy is NBA HOF, Perkins is in the college HOF. They made the NCAA final that year, losing to Isiah Thomas’ Indiana team. Duke had Dennard and Banks, two seniors that would play in the NBA. But Duke was definitely the underdog, with a losing record in the ACC in K’s first coaching year in Durham. Banks’ buzzer-beater to tie in regulation (off an inbounds pass from Dennard) is historic. The shot looks almost Laettner-like, going just over the 6-11 Perkins’ outstretched fingers.

    Why it’s not at my top?
    The game didn’t come down to a last shot in OT. Banks’ winning bucket in OT, a put back off a Vince Taylor miss that should have been rebounded by Wood) was a relatively easy layup. Carolina took a shot to tie after that (after one of El Deano’s saved TO’s), but it missed. Duke’s win wasn’t a major comeback in-game by the Devils, as it was a relatively close game. But it was sweet – K’s first win over the Heels. And Banks throwing roses to the crowd before the game was really cool.


    Second – 2020 Duke/Carolina 1OT

    I don’t need to recap this game right now. I’ll just say it was simply amazing. The belief that team had, never giving up with all of Blue Heaven pulling against them, shows what kind of mentality has been built by K over the years.

    Why it’s not at my top?
    Carolina is not a good team this year and will probably not even make the NIT. Duke was supposed to win. And though Duke came from 13 down with 4 minutes left, they actually led before the end, blowing a 5 point lead in OT. You can argue to me that they had to come back twice, which is true. But it’s not like totally stealing the game from inevitable jaws of defeat. And though the last second shot from Jones to Moore was a buzzer-beater, the two teams were tied. If Duke had missed, it would have gone to double OT. But it was an amazing game, I’m not taking anything away from it in my mind. Coming back down 5 in 20 seconds is really hard to do.


    First – 2012 Duke/Carolina

    I don’t think I need to say much here about this game, either. Most of the folks on here know about it. And anyone new to Duke just needs to youtube the game to see it or google game recaps, as it was played in the Internet age.

    Why it’s at my top:
    Duke, though ranked, was the underdog and was coming off a bad OT loss to a mediocre Miami team in Cameron. People were starting to question Duke a lot. Meanwhile, Carolina was rolling as a top 5 in the country. Same as the 2020 game, it was in the Dean Dome. Duke had trailed all of the second half, looking pitiful. Harrison Barnes didn’t score much in the first half but came back with a vengeance in the 2nd with 19 points. Down 10 points with 2 minutes left, UNC looked like they close it out easily. Then just like Saturday, weird things began to happen. A bad call – Seth Curry obviously traveled while shooting a 3 (off a Mason Plumlee steal and dribble downcourt – Plumlee was not known for his ball handling, so his leading the break and passing back to Curry was an anomaly). Barnes started to try to play hero ball when not needed, committing a charge. Tyler Zeller accidentally tipped a 3-ball try by Ryan Kelly into the bucket for 2 Duke points. Missed FTs by Carolina, and then the buzzer-beating 3 by Rivers. And here’s the real key to why I think this game is the best - it was Duke’s first lead in the whole second half, actually coming after the full 20 minutes – the ball passes through the hoop after the scoreboards went blank at 0:00:00 (I have that shot as a screen saver on an iPad, ball still midflight). The crowd shots (the crying girl, the stunned cheerleader, the open mouths in the stands, Doc Rivers going crazy) only add to the glory. I know the Stones moniker primarily applies to the Jones boys, and I also know Rivers isn’t the highest regarded Blue Devil of all time, but the stones to take that step back 3, down by 2, over Zeller as time is expiring… that, my friends, was incredible.


    This is just my opinion. There have definitely been some great games, and if one of those is at the top of your list, I won’t throw rocks at you. Other than saying Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all time (and if you know hockey, you agree with me ), any argument about GOATs is always debatable. But again, it’s great that we can debate Saturday’s game might or might not be the best Duke/Carolina game of all time.

    Lastly, another opinion: I was saying all along in the in-game thread that you just gotta believe. Duke under K has come back so many times when defeat seemed likely. Anyone saying that Duke is out of a game with a lot of time left on the clock just doesn’t know history, and I think basically has a quitter’s mentality. If you were on the bench during those games, I would have dared you to say that it was over to K’s face! Just last year, the Louisville and FSU games seemed lost, and Duke game back. Against UNC in the games above, as well as even as recently as the 2017 ACCs, most normal teams would have faded away after going down big. But this is Duke. We are Duke. We always have a chance. As Yogi said, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. He didn’t know it, but he was talking about Duke, Coach K and the Brotherhood. I’ve learned to never count Duke out. And when Duke pulls the game out, it makes it all the sweeter.

    9F, 9 Freakin' F
    Bucket List - Throw a party when Duke MBB has a winning record against Carolina.

  2. #2
    I would put this one as having the most amazing ending...the most improbably series of three comebacks (one by Duke in regulation, one by the heels in OT, and then another one by Duke in OT) - and of course buzzer beaters in regulation and OT.

    Not the best teams by far...not the best played game by far....but the most bizarre or improbable ending IMO.
    Don't waste your time on House of Cards S6!
    -We found out Frank was critical to making anyone else in the show interesting...not a surprise...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Seattle
    Our win in 2016 was pretty awesome too. Down to five rotation players by the 2nd half of 2nd half.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outside Philly
    This should probably be a Top 5 or Top 10 list to adequately include all the amazing Duke wins. Duhon's full court layup game in 2004 has to be up there. Even last year's 2nd game when Zion was back from the blown shoe was an intense, really fun game that'd probably sneak into my Top 10. Lots to choose from!


    I agree with HBK that this was the most improbable victor. SO many things had to go right for Tre to do what he did just to tie the game. I'm not sure I've seen a finish quite like that in any basketball game at any level.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Carolina Beach
    This is really hard. I have been thinking more along the lines of where does this comeback win vs the Cheats rank? I think it tops Austin Rivers because we came back twice. The 98 game on Wojo Senior Day. I was a kid when Duke won in triple OT but I can't recall if there was a big comeback involved. And many others.
    Last edited by wsb3; 02-10-2020 at 09:33 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    This should probably be a Top 5 or Top 10 list to adequately include all the amazing Duke wins. Duhon's full court layup game in 2004 has to be up there. Even last year's 2nd game when Zion was back from the blown shoe was an intense, really fun game that'd probably sneak into my Top 10. Lots to choose from!


    I agree with HBK that this was the most improbable victor. SO many things had to go right for Tre to do what he did just to tie the game. I'm not sure I've seen a finish quite like that in any basketball game at any level.
    Improbable is the key word....Duke overcame odds of like 98-2 TWICE in a row. What are the odds of THAT? Almost so low as to be absurd.
    Don't waste your time on House of Cards S6!
    -We found out Frank was critical to making anyone else in the show interesting...not a surprise...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    Quote Originally Posted by HereBeforeCoachK View Post
    I would put this one as having the most amazing ending...the most improbably series of three comebacks (one by Duke in regulation, one by the heels in OT, and then another one by Duke in OT) - and of course buzzer beaters in regulation and OT.

    Not the best teams by far...not the best played game by far...but the most bizarre or improbable ending IMO.
    Agreed. Craziest ending(s) but wouldn’t be on my “best games” list. Definitely one of the most memorable...

  8. #8
    2019 in the ACCT was better than last night. Better teams, incredible ending. Zion.

    2015 in Cameron, I thought was better too.
    Whatever the hell "it" is, Jabari found it.

    -Roy "Ole Huck" Williams

  9. #9
    This past Saturday's game is #1 for me.Im 45 too.Cant beat 2 buzzer beaters in 1 game to rip out the heals heart in front of that awful color that still is so ugly it doesnt have a name attached to it yet.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by kako View Post
    And here’s the real key to why I think this game is the best - it was Duke’s first lead in the whole second half, actually coming after the full 20 minutes – the ball passes through the hoop after the scoreboards went blank at 0:00:00 (I have that shot as a screen saver on an iPad, ball still midflight).
    This was true last Saturday, as well. In fact, Duke had a lead for exactly six seconds in ALL of regulation time, gaining the lead 4-3 at 18:38, and relinquishing it for good at 18:32 in the first half, 4-5. They tied it againat 84-84 with no time left. The ball left Tre's hand with 0:00.3 on the clock, and went through the rim after time expired. Although the score was tied at the time, they did it AGAIN in overtime, where the ball left Wendell's hand with about a half second left, and bounced around on the rim until after time expired.

    I'm not saying you're wrong, of course. Which one you like better is purely an emotional choice. But for me, Saturday was the most amazing win I've ever watched in real time.

  11. #11
    82-50

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fayetteville, NC
    It's the Rivers game for me. We were dominated in the 2nd half, but slowly chipped away at the lead. It never seemed like we could actually win it, but there it was, we had the ball and a shot for the win and Austin came through. And I agree with the OP, the stunned looks of disbelief were priceless.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Quote Originally Posted by kako View Post
    IMO there’s no absolute right or wrong answer, just opinions.
    Sure, but there is an authority: Nugget's list of Coach K's 100 best wins (2010 original and 2016 update).

    Here are the wins over UNC from the more recent list:

    (8) North Carolina, 1984 ACC Tournament Semis (77-75)
    (14) @ North Carolina, 2001 (95-81)
    (15) North Carolina, 1998 (77-75)
    (19) @ North Carolina, 2016 (74-73)
    (21) North Carolina, 1988 ACC Tournament Final (65-61)
    (24) North Carolina, 2001 ACC Tournament Final (79-53)
    (25) North Carolina, 1986 (82-74)
    (26) North Carolina, 1997 (80-73)
    (27) North Carolina, 2011 (79-73)
    (28) @ North Carolina, 2012 (85-84)
    (29) @ North Carolina, 1985 (93-77)
    (33) North Carolina, 2011 ACC Tournament Final (75-58)
    (36) North Carolina, 1981 (66-65)
    (41) @ North Carolina, 2008 (89-78)
    (42) @ Maryland, 2001 (98-96) (ot)
    (43) @ North Carolina, 1989 (88-86)
    (44) North Carolina, 2005 (71-70)
    (45) North Carolina, 2015 (92-90, ot)
    (46) North Carolina, 1993 (81-67)
    (49) @ North Carolina, 2004 (83-81) (ot)
    (50) @ North Carolina, 1991 (83-77)
    (52) @ North Carolina, 2000 (90-86) (ot)
    (53) North Carolina, 1992 ACC Tournament Final (94-74)
    (55) @ North Carolina, 1988 (70-69)
    (63) North Carolina, 1999 ACC Tournament Final (96-73)
    (66) North Carolina, 1988 (96-81)
    (74) North Carolina, 2010 (82-50)
    (82) North Carolina, 1991 (74-61)
    (86) @ North Carolina, 1999 (81-61)
    (88) North Carolina, 1992 (89-77)

    Nothing before Coach K arrived, and nothing after 2016. But still.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by mattyoung18 View Post
    This past Saturday's game is #1 for me.Im 45 too.Cant beat 2 buzzer beaters in 1 game to rip out the heals heart in front of that awful color that still is so ugly it doesnt have a name attached to it yet.
    Agreed this game best win ever over the cheats

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke79UNLV77 View Post
    82-50
    Beat me to it.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke79UNLV77 View Post
    82-50
    This. Saturday night was great, but this 2010 game we beat them by 32, but we could’ve beat them by 100 that night. Glorious.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Phredd3 View Post
    This was true last Saturday, as well. In fact, Duke had a lead for exactly six seconds in ALL of regulation time, gaining the lead 4-3 at 18:38, and relinquishing it for good at 18:32 in the first half, 4-5. They tied it againat 84-84 with no time left. The ball left Tre's hand with 0:00.3 on the clock, and went through the rim after time expired. Although the score was tied at the time, they did it AGAIN in overtime, where the ball left Wendell's hand with about a half second left, and bounced around on the rim until after time expired.

    I'm not saying you're wrong, of course. Which one you like better is purely an emotional choice. But for me, Saturday was the most amazing win I've ever watched in real time.
    Yep, any time a game has one outcome with the clock hits 00:00....and another outcome when the ball in flight finishes....it's quite an ending. When it happens twice in one game? Unheard of. You're right, one's favorite is emotional subjective choice...but objectively, mathematically, this one Saturday is the most amazing.
    Don't waste your time on House of Cards S6!
    -We found out Frank was critical to making anyone else in the show interesting...not a surprise...

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke79UNLV77 View Post
    82-50
    This plus one million.

  19. #19
    I’d place the ‘99 game @CH in my Top 5. Fond memories of Corey putting Tar Heels in the spin cycle for some nice dunks. Just awesome.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Santa Clara, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke79UNLV77 View Post
    82-50
    As the OP, I should have been more specific in my subject title. It should have added the word "Comeback". So my bad. I also love 82-50. True story - I'm out in California, and my boss at the time went to UNC. The rivalry out here is nothing like in NC, but those few of us who are in it are still passionate. The next week after that win, we were whiteboarding something, and there were some numbers to show. I intentionally made a mistake to show "82/50". People called me out, and I just looked at my boss and kept smiling until she figured out what I was showing. I then explained it to the room for a laugh. And no, amazingly I didn't get fired.

    Anyway, the word "Greatest" is subjective. Maybe I should have used the word "Favorite"... Favorite Duke/Carolina Comeback Win Ever... But no matter. It's great talking about any of these wins.

    9F
    Bucket List - Throw a party when Duke MBB has a winning record against Carolina.

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