Duke and UNC have had many key rivalry moments over the years. What are some of your favorites?

The tension of a Duke and UNC basketball game is always high, but some moments in the rivalry stand out above the others.

As the Blue Devils and Tar Heels are set to square off in the Final Four this Saturday, we thought we’d take a look at some of those key moments on Tobacco Road.

Undoubtedly, the teams meeting for the first time ever in the NCAA Tournament this year will go down as one of the best moments in the rivalry’s history.

But it’s names like Fred Lind, Michael Jordan, Jeff Capel, Chris Duhon, Marvin Williams, Tyler Zeller, and a whole host of others that have helped make the rivalry arguably the best in all of sports.

Let’s take a look at some of those key moments, as we get ready for the Final Four (if any of the video boxes show gray, you can just click on them and they’ll play):

  • 2012: The Tyler Zeller-Austin Rivers Game

    Duke v North Carolina

    Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Look away for a moment Tar Heel fans. This one wasn’t pretty. No. 5 North Carolina hosted No. 9 Duke in a regular-season matchup, and boy did this not end well for the Heels.

    After leading for most of the game, UNC blew a 10-point lead with 2:09 left. It was culminated by an accidental tip-in basket for Duke, by UNC center Tyler Zeller, and then Austin Rivers hitting a buzzer-beater 3 to win the game.

    A minor moral victory for UNC that year, as they got to watch Duke lose to Lehigh in stunning fashion in the NCAA Tournament.

  • 1974: The Walter Davis Stunning Comeback

    March 2, 1974 gave us another shocking moment in the rivalry, when Duke blew an 8-point lead with 17 SECONDS LEFT! Keep in mind this was before the 3-point-shot even existed. Duke was poised to upset the No. 4 ranked Tar Heels, with an 86-78 lead with 17 seconds remaining. But a wild turn of events culminated with Walter Davis hitting a shocking 30-footer to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Heels went on to win in overtime, and the Devils left crushed.

  • 1995: The Jeff Capel Dagger

    1995 wasn’t exactly a banner year for the Blue Devils. Coach K was out after back surgery, and Duke was a miserable 13-18 overall. Not good sparky.

    But on Feb. 2, 1995, the No. 2 Tar Heels came to Cameron Indoor and got an unexpected fight.

    Early on, Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse made the game look like a laugher, with a 17-point lead. But Duke hung tough and managed to force overtime.

    It was in overtime, that one of the most legendary moments in the history of the rivalry happened. Jeff Capel threw in a lonnnnng-range 3-pointer to tie the game again in the final seconds of overtime. Duke fans went crazy, and a lost season appeared to be at least emotionally saved.

    Unfortunately, Capel’s shot was the best moment for Duke, as UNC went on to win 102-100 in the second overtime.

  • 2020: The Wendell Moore-Tre Jones Shocker

    Duke v North Carolina

    Duke’s Wendell Moore makes the game winning shot to defeat UNC on February 08, 2020 in Chapel Hill. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

    There’s a lot of similarity to this game and that 1995 game, but in reverse. Duke was riding high, and UNC was in a miserable season.

    North Carolina led the game by 13 in the final minutes, and that’s when Tre Jones took over. He had a remarkable game, that was capped by an amazing buzzer beater off an intentionally-missed free throw to force overtime.

    And then a wild scramble at the end of overtime led to a Jones miss that somehow Wendell Moore picked from thin air and dropped in to win the game.

  • 2022: So Long Coach K

    North Carolina v Duke

    Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

    A somewhat disappointing season for UNC, in new head coach Hubert Davis’ first year got a WHOLE lot better on the night of March 5.

    Coach K’s retirement season had been going pretty well for Duke, and his final home game at Cameron Indoor seemed like it would be a great moment to cap his rivalry with the Heels in style. North Carolina had different ideas.

    Not only did North Carolina win Coach K’s final home game, but it did with vigor, winning 94-81. It looked like Duke might get a chance at revenge in the ACC Tournament, but Virginia Tech thumped the Heels, before also thumping the Blue Devils in the championship.

    But… as so often happens, Coach K has another chance at revenge with this weekend’s NCAA Final Four matchup.

  • 2015: The Dean Smith Remembrance Game

    North Carolina v Duke

    Players and coaches of UNC and Duke gather at midcourt for a moment of silence in honor of North Carolina coach Dean Smith. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

    Dean Smith was a legend at North Carolina, and the 15th-ranked Tar Heels had an emotional night at No. 4 Duke, just days after his death.

    An emotional moment at center court before the game was just the start of a wild night.

    UNC was down early, but came back and took a 10-point lead into the final four minutes. The emotions seemed to catch up to the Heels, as Duke stormed back to force overtime, and then won it 92-90 in overtime.

  • 2019: The Zion Shoe Game

    North Carolina v Duke

    Duke’s Zion Williamson had a memorable first 30 seconds against UNC. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

    This is actually technically three games, but starts 30 seconds into the monumental first one.

    With Zion Williamson coming in to Duke as one of the biggest recruits… ever, anticipation for his first matchup against UNC was high. Like Barack Obama was the game, kind of high.

    But just over 30 seconds into that game, the great Nike blowout happened. If you know the rivalry, you can see it happening in your head now. His shoe exploded, and his knee was hurt.

    UNC won that game, and Zion missed their second matchup that year too. The Tar Heels won that one also. Zion finally got his moment though, as UNC took down Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals.

  • 2004: The First Roy Williams-Coach K Matchup

    Looking back, it was impossible to predict just how good both UNC and Duke were under Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski. We knew they were great coaches, but become two of the greatest of all-time may have been a stretch.

    Their personal rivalry started on Feb. 4, 2004, with No. 1 Duke traveling to No. 17 UNC for a wild matchup.

    Duke came out on top, 83-81 in overtime, but not before a whole lot of drama. Jawad Williams hit a three for UNC to send the game into overtime. Rashad McCants drilled another one near the end of overtime, and it looked like things were going to a second overtime period.

    But Chris Duhon pulled off the unthinkable, driving from one end of the court to another, and hit a wild reverse layup to give the Blue Devils the win, and Coach K a 1-0 record against the Heels.

  • 1984: Jordan's Last Home Game

    Michael Jordan’s final home game was a memorable one, as the Tar Heels defeated Duke, 82-81 in double overtime.

    The names in that game were ridiculous: Matt Doherty, Sam Perkins, Mark Alarie, Johnny Dawkins and a host of others. But it was Jordan’s final moments on the court in Chapel Hill that were iconic.

  • 1992: Montross' Bloody Face

    On February 5, 1992, No. 9 North Carolina beat No. 1 Duke, 75-73, and it was filled with great moments.

    Notably, Christian Laettner missed two shots that could have tied the game in the closing seconds. And who doesn’t love with Laettner misses a shot or two?

    But it was the Eric Montross casually sinking two late free throws with blood all over his face, after taking some “accidental” elbow to his skull.

  • 2007: Hansbrough's Bloody Face

    Let’s flip the script and go ugly the other way. Who can forget this 2007 matchup? Nobody really remembers the 86-72 UNC win. It’s the image of blood gushing from Tyler Hansbrough’s face after an errant elbow from Gerald Henderson that we remember.

    And of course the masked up Hansbrough in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.

  • 1979: Four Corners

    If you’ve ever played basketball without a shot clock, you know how infuriating this game was. Dean Smith used his obnoxious Four Corners offense on occasion to drag games to a halt. And this 1979 matchup was one of those. Prepare to take a nap while watching the clip below. You’ll see plenty of nothing happening.

    Problem was, UNC forgot to score. The halftime tally was 7-0 in Duke’s favor.

    Smith backed off the Four Corners in the second half, but ended up losing the game, 47-40.

    Also of note: This is the first known instance of fans shouting “Air Ball” during a game.

  • 1968: The Legendary Lind

    Want to make a mark in basketball history? Follow Fred Lind’s path.

    Lind scored only 12 points all season long for Duke before their matchup against UNC. But something in him clicked in that game, and he dropped 16 points for the Blue Devils, as they won 87-86 in triple overtime.

    Lind’s legacy was secured when he blocked a shot to send the game to overtime. And then hit two free throws to tie the game at the end of the first overtime. Oh, and then he hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the second overtime.

    His heroics got him carried off the court, and he became a Duke legend.

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