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Duke and UNC players were asked about their favorite rivalry game. Here’s what they said.

UNC’s Coby White reveals favorite Duke-Carolina game, and it’s not what you’d expect

UNC freshman guard Coby White talks with the media ahead of the UNC-Duke game on Wednesday. White is UNC's second leading scorer this season.
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UNC freshman guard Coby White talks with the media ahead of the UNC-Duke game on Wednesday. White is UNC's second leading scorer this season.

Duke and North Carolina have played each other 45 times when both were ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll. Duke leads the series by one game, 23-22.

Wednesday’s game between No. 1 Duke and No. 8 UNC will be their 46th time playing when both are ranked in the top 10. There have been many memorable games over the years.

So UNC and Duke’s players were asked about their favorite UNC-Duke moment. Here is what they said:

UNC senior guard Kenny Williams:

“Last year (in the Dean Smith Center),” Williams said.

What happened: On Feb. 8, 2018, No. 21 UNC beat No. 9 Duke 82-78. The Tar Heels trailed by 12 points in the first half before coming back. And Williams was a big part of it. Williams scored a career-high 20 points and was 6-for-12 from behind the 3-point line.

UNC freshman guard Coby White:

“Growing up a Duke fan, my favorite moment was when Austin Rivers hit the game-winner,” White said with a laugh.

What happened: It happened on Feb. 8, 2012 at the Dean Smith Center.

With 13.9 seconds left in the game, Tyler Zeller missed a free throw that would have put the Tar Heels up by three points. Duke’s Mason Plumlee got the rebound and gave it to Austin Rivers, who dribbled up court. When Rivers got past halfcourt, Plumlee set a screen on UNC’s Reggie Bullock to get Rivers on a mismatch with Zeller.

He backed up some and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Blue Devils won 85-84, silencing the crowd.

UNC senior forward Luke Maye:

“Obviously the Tyler Hansbrough game where he got a bloody nose was iconic.”

What happened: It was March 4, 2007, and UNC led 84-72 with 17 seconds left. Hansbrough, who had been at the free throw line, rebounded his own miss. When he went back up, Duke’s Gerald Henderson jumped in front of Hansbrough and swiped down with his arm.

But instead of blocking the shot, Henderson’s elbow connected with Hansbrough’s face. Hansbrough fell. His nose was bloody and teammates had to hold him back. UNC ended up winning the game 86-72.

Duke freshman guard R.J. Barrett

“I like the one, it was in Cameron in 2017...when Jayson (Tatum) dunked on Kennedy Meeks. I just liked that moment. I liked the way Jayson came back and had 20 in the second half.”

What happened: It was Feb. 9, 2017 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke led UNC 51-46 early in the second half. Jayson Tatum received a pass from Grayson Allen at the wing, pumpfaked and drove to the basket. UNC’s Meeks was under the basket waiting for him, but Tatum outjumped Meeks and slammed it in.

Tatum yelled in excitement and so did the Cameron Crazies. Duke won 86-78.

Duke junior forward Javin DeLaurier

“I think the most special one for me so far since I’ve been here was last year when we beat them at home. It was an emotional comeback.”

What happened: It was March 3, 2018, and Duke was hosting UNC. It was Grayson Allen’s final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Tar Heels led in the first half 35-25. But Duke’s Marvin Bagley scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half. Duke outscored UNC 49-29 in the second half and won 74-64.

And Grayson Allen walked off the floor with a win in his final game at Cameron.

UNC at Duke

When: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019

Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham

TV: ESPN, 9 p.m.

An earlier version of this story had an incorrect date for the UNC-Duke game.

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Jonathan M. Alexander has been covering the North Carolina Tar Heels since May 2018. He previously covered Duke basketball and recruiting in the ACC. He is an alumnus of N.C. Central University.
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