I did a video that you can see here with my choices for top 5 all-time UNC-Duke comebacks in this remarkable 233-game series. There are a lot of great highlights of the plays I describe in the video. But if you just want the quick list, here it is, counting down from No.5 to No.1:
No.5 -- FABULOUS FRED. Obscure Duke reserve Fred Lind comes off the bench, scores 16 points, grabs nine rebounds, forces one of the overtimes with a late basket and ultimately is Duke's star in the Blue Devils' 87-86 triple OT win in 1968.
No.4 -- MARVIN WILLIAMS' OLD-FASHIONED 3-POINT PLAY. In 2005, the Tar Heels score the game's final 11 points to come back from nine down with 2:40 to play to edge Duke, 75-73. Roy Williams has said numerous times that he has never heard the Smith Center louder than when Williams grabbed a missed Raymond Felton free throw, scored and got fouled himself to score the winning points.
No.3 -- CAPEL'S 30-FOOTER. In 1995, Duke wasn't very good. UNC was. But the Blue Devils rose up, overcame an early 17-point deficit, then came back from -- yes -- eight points down with 17 seconds to go in the first overtime. The last 3 came when Capel nailed a running 30-footer -- still one of the most famous shots in the series. UNC won in double OT, however, 102-100.
No.2 -- RIVERS OVER ZELLER. This was just last month, so you remember it well. It either haunts you or sustains you, depending on which shade of blue you favor. UNC was up 10 with less than three minutes left, but kept missing free throws. Rivers nailed a long three over Tyler Zeller at the buzzer -- in Chapel Hill! -- to give Duke an amazing 85-84 victory.
No.1 -- EIGHT POINTS IN 17 SECONDS. To me, this comeback remains the series' best, because it came without the benefit of the three-pointer. UNC was down eight to Duke with 17 seconds to go. But the Tar Heels kept scoring, stealing the ball and scoring again. Still, they needed a missed Duke free throw and a BANKED Walter Davis shot from about 30 feet to force the overtime, which they then won.
A note about No.1 -- a high school star named Phil Ford was watching the game on TV and was so disgusted when UNC fell so far behind in the final minute that he went outside to wash the family car. He missed the entire comeback.
6 months ago