Coach K against UNC: Ten memorable games

The Duke team tackles guard Austin Rivers (0) after he hits a three pointer at the buzzer to beat UNC 85-84. Duke battled UNC at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012.
The Duke team tackles guard Austin Rivers (0) after he hits a three pointer at the buzzer to beat UNC 85-84. Duke battled UNC at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. cliddy@newsobserver.com

No. 1 UNC 78, Duke 73

Jan. 21, 1984

Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium

This was the fifth game of a six-game losing streak for Krzyzewski against the Tar Heels – his longest losing streak ever against UNC – and this loss might have bothered him the most. Duke led late, 67-64, before the Tar Heels rallied. During the comeback, an angry Dean Smith banged on the scorer’s table to try to alert officials during a stoppage that he wanted a substitution. While Smith did that, he inadvertently hit a button that added 20 points to UNC’s score. Despite the antics, Smith wasn’t called for a technical foul and Krzyzewski afterward famously lamented the “double standard” that existed in the ACC – implying that Smith and UNC could get away with things other teams and coaches couldn’t.

No. 16 Duke 77, No. 1 UNC 75

March 10, 1984

Location: Greensboro Coliseum

Krzyzewski’s first and only win against a top-ranked UNC team came in the 1984 ACC tournament semifinals. The game was tight throughout the second half, and Michael Jordan cut Duke’s lead to two in the final moments. UNC had a chance in the final seconds, but Matt Doherty’s inbounds pass was off target. The Blue Devils’ victory was especially sweet after losing two close ones against UNC in the regular season. This ended UNC’s six-game winning streak against Krzyzewski and Duke.

No. 9 Duke 70, No. 2 UNC 69

Jan. 21, 1988

Location: Smith Center

Duke-UNC games with both teams in the top 10 became common, but this was just the fifth of Krzyzewski’s tenure – and it was also the first Duke-UNC game of the K era to be decided by a single point. Duke led by 14 early before UNC came back. A Danny Ferry free throw with 52 seconds left was the difference, but not before the Tar Heels missed four shots in the final 30 seconds.

No. 9 UNC 75, No. 1 Duke 73

Feb. 5, 1992

Location: Smith Center

The image of blood streaming down the face of North Carolina center Eric Montross is etched into the lore of the Duke-UNC rivalry, and it’s why this game is often remembered as “the bloody Montross game.” This was among the games that vaulted the Duke-UNC rivalry into the national phenomenon it is today and though Duke lost this one, it repeated a couple months later as national champions.

No. 8 UNC 73, Duke 72

Jan. 31, 1996

Location: Smith Center

This was Krzyzewski’s first game against UNC since returning from his long leave following back surgery, and the unranked Blue Devils nearly pulled off the improbable upset. Duke led by 17 in the first half, and a Steve Wojciechowski 3-pointer gave the Blue Devils a four-point lead with 73 seconds to play. But UNC took the lead in the final seconds on a Dante Calabria tip-in, and Duke’s Ricky Price missed a shot at the buzzer.

No. 1 Duke 77, No. 3 UNC 75

Feb. 28, 1998

Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium

The Blue Devils trailed by 17 points with 12 minutes to play before beginning one of the great comebacks in Duke history. Elton Brand, a freshman who had suffered a broken foot two months earlier, led the rally and Roshown McLeod gave Duke the lead for good with a layup in the final minute. The victory gave Duke the regular-season ACC championship, and Krzyzewski his 500th career victory.

No. 1 Duke 96, No. 15 UNC 73

March 7, 1999

Location: Charlotte Coliseum

For the third time in 1999, the Blue Devils dominated the Tar Heels – this time in the ACC tournament final in Charlotte. Duke won all 16 of its regular-season conference games, and none of its three games in the ACC tournament was close. There have been a great number of better, more competitive Duke-UNC games, but this one symbolized Duke’s dominance and its superiority in the ACC.

No. 1 Duke 83,

No. 17 UNC 81 (OT)

Feb. 5, 2004

Location: Smith Center

This was the first time Krzyzewski and Roy Williams coached against each other in this rivalry, and it turned out to be among the most memorable Duke-UNC games. The Tar Heels led by seven with about six minutes to play and then a 10-0 Duke run put the Blue Devils up three with a minute left. It went into overtime, where Chris Duhon’s layup with six seconds left gave Duke the win.

No. 2 UNC 75, No. 6 Duke 73

March 6, 2005

Location: Smith Center

The Duke-UNC rivalry has been born out of heartbreak – on both sides – and few of the Blue Devils’ defeats were more heartbreaking than this one. Duke led by nine with three minutes to play, but the Tar Heels closed the game on an 11-0 run – the final three points coming on a memorable three-point play from freshman Marvin Williams with 17 seconds remaining. Many still say the Smith Center has never been louder than it was when Williams gave UNC the lead late.

No. 10 Duke 85, No. 5 UNC 84

Feb. 8, 2012

Location: Smith Center

In one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of the rivalry Duke, which trailed by 10 with 2 1/2 minutes to play, stunned the Tar Heels on Austin Rivers’ 3-pointer as time expired. The final few minutes had it all: clutch shot after clutch shot for Duke, some head-scratching moments for UNC and a memorable mishap when Tyler Zeller, the UNC center, inadvertently deflected a Duke shot into the basket. Rivers’ shot ignited a wild celebration for Duke while the crowd at the Smith Center sat in stunned silence.

Andrew Carter

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