Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Absolutely incredible: Rivers' 3-pointer beats UNC at buzzer

Now that was truly unbelievable.

Duke freshman Austin Rivers just etched his name deeply into the Duke-UNC rivalry. His deep three-pointer at the buzzer (see video and analysis here) over Tyler Zeller gave Duke an amazing 85-84 win over UNC at Chapel Hill and will mean that Rivers' name will now become synonymous with one of the finest finishes this 233-game series has ever produced.

A quick list of some of the other best shots ever at the end of a game in this wonderful series:

-- Walter Davis's banked 30-footer at the buzzer that completed the "eight points in 17 seconds" comeback in 1974.

-- Chris Duhon's coast-to-coast reverse layup to beat Carolina in overtime in 2004.

-- Marvin Williams' old-fashioned three-point play in 2005 that erased the last of a nine-point Duke lead with 2:40 to go.

-- Jeff Capel's 35-footer to force a second overtime in 1995.

There are many more, of course, but Rivers just pushed his way onto a very short list. It's very hard to do what he just did. The outcome of the game ultimately turned on one shot, and Rivers knocked it down to stun the sellout crowd in Chapel Hill.

If you're a UNC fan, of course, you're thinking it never should have come to that. UNC led by 9-12 points for almost all of the second half and still had a 10-point lead (82-72) with 2:38 to go. Seth Curry traveled just before a crucial three-pointer late and Kendall Marshall had a critical turnover.

And Zeller? What a fine 39 minutes he played and what a bad final minute. He accidentally tipped in a Ryan Kelly airball for two Duke points while trying to get a rebound -- that was just unlucky. But then Zeller missed the second of two free throws with 14 seconds left to give Rivers a chance to win the game instead of tie it with a three-pointer.

And then Zeller didn't close out on Rivers and force him to drive and at least not beat the Tar Heels on the last three. It wasn't like Rivers hadn't been hitting 3s already -- he had been deadly for most of the game from out there. You can't let Rivers get off a squared-up three in that situation.

If you're a Duke fan, of course, you are jubilant -- and rightly so. Duke ended the game on a 13-2 run, on the road, and it was legit. The Blue Devils made every big shot. They kept competing and fighting when most people thought it was over.

Hey, the refs didn't call the traveling on Curry, just like UNC got the benefit of a few other calls during the game. And when the biggest moment of the game came, Rivers noticed Zeller wasn't going to come all the way out on him (after Zeller had to switch off a pick-and-roll that got Reggie Bullock out of the play) and went ahead and decided to try the "make-it-or-lose" three instead of driving and hoping to send the game into overtime. A gamble, but hey -- it ended up in what Rivers told ESPN's Erin Andrews was "the best day of my life."

One last point: I wrote a column Wednesday and made a video (you can see links to both in the blog post below this one) that Duke-UNC was the best rivalry in all of sports. I got a number of emails from college football fans in Alabama and Auburn and Ohio State and Michigan and South Carolina and Yankees and Red Sox fans and so on, all saying their own rivalry was the best.

I think we just saw another example, though, of why UNC-Duke is unsurpassed.

And guess what? They'll do it again in early March, and maybe one more time in the ACC tournament. But whatever happens the rest of the year, we just saw one of the best shots of this college basketball season -- and one of the most memorable moments of the series. Depending on which shade of blue you wear, that shot will either haunt you or dazzle you for a long, long time.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thoughts on unc's defensive game plan? I cannot understand why they allow the three. Stubborn Roy cost heels that game

Jason B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

the blame rests solely on roy's shoulders. this team has never been successful in a slow down half court offense. they should have pushed the ball to the end!!! WEAK!

Brendan said...

Curry did travel. They showed it clearly on TV in slo-mo.

Anonymous said...

I was at the game and the refs were some of the worst I have seen. One ref blu the whistle everytime Duke had the ball against Carolina whether they were touching or not. The entire dean dome was booing this guy most of the game and its not because we are Heels fans.

Cedar Posts said...

Scott please tell me you sat courtside during the game. I suspect you didn't.

I also suspect that the reason the Raleigh News and Observer's Andrew Carter story leads and his folo comments are boxed along with your post, is that The Charlotte Observer wouldn't give anyone the "gas money" to make the trip up tobacco road last night.

I miss the days when John Kilgo would drive to Chapel Hill and have a story filed in time to make the morning paper.

Yes you and I can blog about the game having watched it on our 56 inch plasma televisions, but .....

Karl Hess said...

Anon @ 7:13am - The refs sure were calling all the fouls on Carolina. 22 of them, in fact. What you apparently didn't pay attention to is that they called 25 on Duke.

Try again.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the roof didnt cave in and do away with both of those arrogant ass teams and their coaches

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:13, it's exactly because you are a Tarhole fan that you were booing the ref. You mean to tell me that you were booing him every time Barnes pushed off for a jump shot and it wasn't called? I highly doubt it. Typical Carolina. No team can beat them, only the refs.

Anonymous said...

You can believe the Observer did not spend the gas money to cover the biggest game of the year. Fowler and Sorenson sat home and watched on TV.

We knew this would happen when McClatchy owned both papers. Same with covering the NC State House and governor's mansion.

Great (corporate) journalism!!!

Skeezix said...

Typical tar hole fan comments--instead of exercising some sportmanship and giving credit to the other team they say: "oh it was the refs, oh he traveled, oh it was Roy, oh this, oh that"......

Go Duke! Congrats to the Duke kids for never giving up. Great win!

Anonymous said...

UNC-CHeat got what they deserved. Go Duke!

Anonymous said...

Either team could have beaten the bobcats last night...why not have an exhibition scrimmage. Walker on Rivers, Zeller on...Byron? Or, Diop? How about Henson schooling Diaw. Why don't we just have an old-fashioned exhibition at the end of the season and see if Magette can take Bullock or if Seth could make Higgins look foolish.

Anonymous said...

At least Roy stayed for the whole game...

Anonymous said...

UNC was going over the back on quite a few rebounds. Either side can nitpick something. I'd rather bask in the glow of a great game and great win by Duke.

Anonymous said...

Poor UNC hardly ever gets any calls Wonder if Fowler was wearing one of his many light blue sweater vests while writing this story. The elephant in the room is that Roy is overmatched as a coach versus K. Even with 3 players who were convinced to stay at Carolina against their own interest, he blew this game.

That's what she said...

These are the trials that time men's soles.

agFinder said...

Terrible officiating, both ways. I'm a Heels fan and saw Barnes literally holding a shooter's arm on the 2nd or 3rd play of the game. They did not call that one, but then started calling tiny touch fouls for no reason at all. If you're going to let them play then don't change up on a whim.

Anonymous said...

Curry didn't travel? Some people need to go back and learn the rules of Basketball. He wouldn't have even gotten away with that blatant walk in the NBA. Even the announcers said as much. The refs let that go in order to allow for a closer more exciting game. It worked.

Anonymous said...

Curry did travel.... And Henson and Zeller went over the back all night...and Barnes pushed off all night...and Ryan Kelly is ugly. Stuff doesnt get called. Waaaaaaaaah! Keep crying.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 12:54pm:

Calling traveling in the NBA? Are you serious? I've never seen a travel called in the NBA in my life. The officials there let the guys bend that rule so far beyond the breaking point to allow for big plays.

@Anon 2:08pm:

Awesome! :)

K teabags Roy said...

but but but but but the Refs!!!!

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh...

Suck it, Tard Heels

K teabags Roy said...

but but but but but the Refs!!!!

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh...

Suck it, Tard Heels

Generic Clarinex said...

curry did travel... yes!!!

Thanks


Generic Clarinex

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Tarcheats,

U mad bro?