CHAPEL HILL - Whether it's Walter Davis' shot, Bobby Jones' steal, the 1989 ACC Tournament final, Jerry Stackhouse's dunk, the Cota-to-Carter almost alleyoop, or a more recent game, Tar Heel fans are invited to share their favorite memories of the Carolina-Duke rivalry with GoHeels.com.
To submit your favorite memory, please email your name, hometown and memory to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Some of the best replies are posted below. It's interesting to hear from so many Carolina fans across the country. Keep sending them in until the 9 p.m. tipoff Saturday evening in the Smith Center. GoHeels! #BeatDuke.
There are so many to choose from. However, my favorite Carolina-Duke memory would probably be from Feb 5, 1998. Duke came to Chapel Hill ranked #1, and lost big to the #2 ranked Tar Heels. However, what makes this game so special to me is that it was the first UNC-Duke game after my oldest son was born (he was born in December of 1997). I vividly remember holding him while watching the game. Now, he wears UNC clothes to school in Iowa City (where we really root for and support local hero Marcus Paige from Cedar Rapids).
On an unrelated note, I want to pass along a story that makes me proud to be a Tar Heel. A friend of my sister has a son with a rare form of brain cancer. He is currently being treated at St. Jude in Memphis. The cancer has affected his ability to talk, but he is still very alert. The family started a FB page to provide information and support. Soon, people started adding photos of themselves holding signs that read "Rootin' for Regen". These seemed to really lift his spirits. Regen is a huge UNC basketball fan (smart kid). So, I contacted a friend from graduate school who still lives in Chapel Hill. Through common friends, she relayed the information to Eric Montross - who came through big time. He sent photos of the team, along with photos of Rece Davis, Digger Phelps, and Jay Bilas - all holding signs that read "Rootin'' for Regen". Eric Montross will always be one of my all-time favorite Tar Heels. But, what he did for Regen goes above and beyond anything he accomplished on the court. Just wanted to share that story.
Iowa City, Iowa
My husband, Ken, a Carolina graduate, was employed in the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory at NC Memorial Hospital (now UNC Hospitals) in 1974. He had contracted hepatitis while working in the laboratory and had been extremely sick and unable to function for several weeks. On March 2, 1974, he decided to move from the bed to our couch to watch the Carolina/Duke game. With Duke ahead 86-78 with only 17 seconds left--we knew it would take a miracle for our Tar Heels to win. There was no 3-point shot at that time, but Bobby Jones connected on a pair of free throws, then Walter Davis stole the ball and after a turnover by Duke, John Kuester and Jones hit baskets. Carolina tied the score on a bank shot by Davis just as time ran out!!! The game went into overtime and NC won 96-92. Not only was this the greatest comeback in college basketball history, but when Walter Davis hit the shot to tie the game in regulation, my husband literally jumped off the couch screaming!!! I hadn't seen him move that much in weeks but he made a very swift recovery after that game. It will be one we won't forget the rest of our lives!!
Without question, the most memorable UNC-Duke moment for myself came in 1995. This game will always be remembered for Jeff Capel's running shot, although Carolina's heroics are often overlooked.
The intensity of this game was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Sold out Cameron. 90+ degrees. Dean Smith. Duke's collective backs were against the wall. UNC starts out hot. Jerry's ridiculous reverse running one-handed dunk over Cherokee Parks (and subsequent strut to the free throw line) was a thing of beauty. Then came Rasheed's recurrent primal-scream alley-oops (running full speed in transition, no less) that will likely never be duplicated. Donald Williams and Jeff McInnis hit shot after shot.....willing the team to a slight cushion.
Duke's absentee coach, Pete Gaudet, countered with Capel, Langdon and Parks. First came overtime (and a missed Serge Zwikker free throw). Then Capel's ridiculous running bomb and double overtime. Finally, Donald Williams hit clutch shot after clutch shot (add in a fortuitous McInnis steal and layup) that iced it. Then came the celebration at midcourt....which was trumped only by the supreme agony evident on the faces of the Duke players and fans.
All told, Duke can be credited for playing with tremendous heart, particularly in the absence of their strangely missing leader. However, in the end, Jerry and Rasheed were completely awe-inspiring. Dean Smith was his masterful self. Carolina simply willed their team to overcome an equally inspired Duke team in a hot, loud, and wholly unforgiving environment. Here's to hoping that Saturday night will elicit a mere fraction of the raw emotion, intensity, and talent displayed on that cold Thursday night in Durham. Go 'Heels.
Charles E. Redding
1972-Bobby Jones' steal, layup & streak to locker room. The coolest thing I've ever seen on a court.
Class of '78
The first one is the last game in Carmichael. Spring break had begun on Friday so we had to go home and drive back for the game. March 3rd, 1984 #1 UNC 96, Duke 83 in 2OT. MJ, Matt Doherty, Sam, Kenny. About 10 rows from the top. I've still got the ticket stub!
I remember Duke's Alarie was at the line, thinking if he hits these its over. He missed the front end of the 1&1, Carolina got the ball and Matt hit the shot to tie it to force the 1st OT. At the end I was hugging people three rows in front of us.
Second, Jan 18th 1986. The first game in the Dean Dome. #1 UNC #3 Duke. As a senior it was a once in a lifetime experience. BUT I have to say I missed the intimacy of Carmichael (memories of sitting 3 rows behind Lefty and Len Bias at his last game, and under the basket watching Muggsy Bogues) especially since these seats were almost at the top of the arena.
My brother and I have been ACC fans for our entire lives, only he is a Duke fan. We went to our first Carolina-Duke game in 01' at the Smith Center and we were hooked. A few seasons later when Roy was back for his first year we were lucky enough to sit five rows from the floor behind the bench for the amazing game in which Chris Duhon beat us on the coast to coast reverse layup. You would think that this would be my best memory to be so close I could hear coach Williams getting after them in the huddles. But just a few seasons later, we got two tickets to see my Heels and my favorite class march into Cameron and steal a win on senior night. Until that night I was sure nothing could be greater than watching this game at the dome...but seeing Tyler and the rest of that young team go in and start the four year streak there is the greatest memory of this series and probably always will be. It was close though as we can still be seen behind Carolina's bench whenever ESPN replays the Duhon game as my brother is wearing a yellow Duke hoodie, but the win at Duke has to take it.
The year was 1998 and I had just started a new job with a company. I was in San Antonio, TX for 2 weeks of training during the UNC/Duke game. I went to a sports bar a few blocks from the hotel I was staying at to watch the game. I got there about 2 ½ hours before tip-off to make sure I had my pick of the best TV in the place. The bartender suggested a big room with a big screen TV and he said he would have the UNC/Duke on in that room. I ordered a burger and a beer, walked into the room, and took the table right in the middle of the room. There was no one else there. About an 1 ½ hours before tip-off a couple walked in wearing Duke gear and carry a box. Hoping for a little friendly (or not so friendly) smack talk, I walked up to them and told them the game was going to be on in "my room" and they were welcome to join me. We talked a few minutes before I got around to asking what was in the box. They told me that that is was Duke decorations....they were from the San Antonio Duke Alumni Club and all the Dukies in San Antonio were coming to watch the game at the sports bar. Within 30 minutes, there was 30 Duke fans and me in the room! I couldn't believe my luck and started to get ready for an epic game and an epic environment....me against 30+ Dukies! That was when I noticed a woman about 60 years old walk into the room wearing Tar Heel gear. I immediately walked up to her and invited her to sit with me at my table. She was carrying a couple of boxes and when I asked her what was in them, she said she was the President of the San Antonio Tar Heel Alumni Club and she had Tar Heel decorations in the boxes. I couldn't believe my luck picking the one bar in the whole city that had both alumni clubs watching it together. Within 30 minutes, the room was packed....30+ Duke fans and 30+ Tar Heel fans! That was the legendary UNC/Dook game that Vince Carter made one of the greatest dunks I have ever seen and missed one of the greatest dunks I have ever seen. Tar Heels won of course and 30+ Tar Heels went home happy. I went back to my hotel with a great memory.
Class of 89
2009 Senior Day: Mom, The Fist, and Tears...from Albuquerque, NM, my mom and I were there to see the greatest game I have ever witnessed. You see, I am a Tar Heel lifer, it's part of who I am as a man, thanks to my wonderful father. My priorities in life are simple...God, Family, UNC. I thought for sure I'd cry during the post-game speeches, but surprisingly it happened much earlier. We were amped, our emotions off the charts, ready to watch our boys go to work against our arch-rival. As the starting lineups were introduced the Smith Center was jumping, as was I. But when Tyler's name was called he came out with that fist in the air, because it was not yet time to say goodbye. It was winning time, and when I saw that I was screaming at the top of my lungs with tears streaming down my face. I turned to my left and my mom was not watching the court, she was watching me and had tears of her own. We didn't see the opening tip. I grabbed her, held her tight, and told her I loved her. We prayed aloud for a few moments and thanked God for my dad, one another, and the North Carolina Tar Heels. Next to the birth of my children and my wedding day, it will always be the single greatest moment of my life. Thank you Pop, you were right. UNC is God's team, that's why the sky is Carolina Blue. Go Heels.
My favorite memory has to be from the game on March 6, 2005! I was a senior at UNC and I had a riser ticket. My hometown is Durham so the game takes on an extra meaning for me.
When we were down 9 points with 3 minutes to go, all I
could think was: NOT AGAIN!
When Marvin Williams hit the put back to go ahead I lost it! It was incredible...and then we stormed the court!
I had waited my whole life for that moment! All the losses over years and getting on the school bus and being taunted by Dukies...this is redemption!
I still get chills thinking about it...GO HEELS!
E. Nelson Griffin
It was the last game of the 1964-65 regular season and the
very last game to be played in Woolen Gym. Duke was loaded with star
players while Dean Smith had been hanged in effigy by Carolina students during
that same year and the great Billy (Kangaroo Kid) Cunningham was Carolina's
I was a high school senior at the time. A friend and future roommate at UNC had cornered Dean Smith after practice during the week of the game and gave him this sob story about the biggest Carolina fan of all-time who had never seen a home game in Chapel Hill (all true). Coach Smith told my friend to have me near the player's entrance to the court on game day and he would make sure that I got to see the game. Sure enough, one of the managers handed me a clip board as the team took the court and escorted me to a seat where I saw the underdog Heels beat Duke 71-66. Cunningham was magnificent as he took over the game with his shooting and rebounding and even brought the ball up court while being guarded by the much taller Hack Tison. Billy the Kid was later named All-American and ACC player of the year.
I was the CAA Ticket Manager, so I had 2 seats to every home game - right behind the team. That was pretty sweet! Anyway, the last home game was vs. Duke and I had a flight scheduled to head home to Florida for spring break. Before the game, I wondered aloud that the game would probably go into overtime and I'd be cutting my trip to RDU and might end up missing my flight, or at least cutting it pretty darn close. Well, that did happen . . . except it was DOUBLE overtime. UNC prevailed in a real nail-biter! My friend drove as fast as her giant Olds 88 would go to RDU and I got to the ticket desk just in time. I joked about almost missing the flight because of the game ... and the ticket agent said they were holding another flight for someone. As she's saying this the door opens and in runs Michael Jordan. We chatted briefly, joking about the fact that they were not holding my plane but they were holding his ... to CHICAGO.
Lisa Zinn Anderson
Class of 1984
MAC Class of 1995
Like most Carolina fans, I have several great Carolina-Duke memories. I stormed the court in 2003. I watched with friends as Psycho T and a young Tar Heel squad stunned J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams on their Senior Night in 2006. I've rushed Franklin Street two years in a row (hoping to make it three on Saturday night!). But perhaps my most favorite memory of the greatest rivalry in sports comes from 2005. I was very much anticipating the second game against Duke that year considering the way that the first one ended. Next to the Gerald Henderson incident, I don't think I've been more angry during/after a Carolina game than I was at the end of that one. As everyone remembers, we had a chance to win right there in front of us but didn't even get a shot off. So needless to say, I couldn't wait for a chance to rectify this in the second game. I had a bunch of friends over at my house (as was my tradition back in those days for the second Carolina-Duke game every season), so it certainly made for a lively atmosphere. When we were down nine with three minutes to go, one Duke fan looked at me and told me that we had no chance to come back and win. He said it was over. That made the infamous comeback that followed all the more satisfying. It was a win for the ages, and it of course set the stage for a magical run that was capped off by one of the best nights of my life: April 4, 2005. No matter how many epic Carolina-Duke games I see in the coming years, this one will always hold a special place in my heart.
Being a diehard Carolina fan from Connecticut, I had only been to a handful of Carolina games. Despite doing a non-paid internship during the 08-09 season and not having a full time job, I found a way to buy tickets. I went with my wife (girlfriend at the time) for the senior game and as they were doing the pregame ceremonies, I was so emotional that I may have shed a few actual tears that day. I was nervous at the thought of losing to them but we pulled it out despite Ty Lawson's toe injury and was really able to enjoy the seniors' post game speeches. That experience is undoubtedly in my top 3 life experiences!!
Radames Vazquez Jr.
I was in graduate school at UNC and was able to get a ticket to the DOOK/UNC game, February, 1992. During a battle down low, Eric Montross gets slammed and a huge cut opens above his eyes and spilling over his nose and cheeks. He steps to the foul line toward the end of the game with blood running down his face. Carolina ends up winning the game 75-73.
My favorite moment: I watched the 2005 Dean Dome game while I was serving overseas in Iraq. It was about 3am in the morning there. I'll never forget the Heels coming back from that big deficit in the final 2 minutes and Marvin Williams putback and foul to seal it! For a moment I totally forgot I was thousands of miles away from home in a war zone. I also watched that year's championship game there and the only thing that upset me about the two wins is that I wasn't at home to rub it in all the Duke fans faces!! These two wins proved the Tar Heels basketball program was officially back on top!
1984, Carmichael Audiotrium, last game of the regular season. Matt Doherty hit a jump as time expired to tie the game and send it into triple overtime. Tar Heels won and that turned out to be Michael Jordan's last home game.
Lynn Cairnes O'Brien
Class of 1985
Ellicott City, Maryland
My favorite moment in the rivalry is when Rasheed Wallace stepped into the jump circle and told Eric Meek "as long as I'm a TAR HEEL, y'all will never beat us."
The Jerry Stackhouse Dunk on Feb 2, 1995. I turned 21 at midnight on Feb. 3. Because of the overtime the game finished just after midnight and the win became my first birthday present on my 21st birthday and I was legally able to toast the victory.
Ben Ousley Naseman '96
Well it would have to be '74. I still remember it
like it was yesterday. Growing up Walter Davis was one of my
favorites....and that shot will live forever. I had the opportunity to
take my daughter to Carmichael a couple of summers ago and showed her the
picture of that shot. The comeback ....being down 8 with :17 to go is
something that has stuck with me since that moment. To this day.....I
will not leave the arena until the final buzzer goes off.....which many of my
friends do not understand....and it has ingrained in me....whether it is
basketball or anything else in life.....to never give up. I try to share
that game....and story with my kids whenever I have the chance to sneak it in.
I love watching the video of the highlights of that game.....and
listening to Mitch Kupchak tell the story of what coach Smith said in the
huddle during a timeout....still down by two with only a few ticks
remaining....coach Smith said "isn't this fun....you guys are going to win
the game". The rest is history.
Here's hoping for another win Saturday!!!
In November 2004, my 8th grade daughter asked me if she would ever get to go to the Duke game. I promised her that she could use my ticket once before she graduated from high school. In March 2005 I decided I better make good on my promise and she used my ticket. I screamed at the TV at home, ecstatic because she "was there" when Marvin Williams hit the shot to give the Heels the win. By the way, she'll be using her own ticket Saturday night - as a senior in the Carolina pep band!
All time fav game & UNC player Phil Ford's senior game against Dook in Carmichael! All time classic!
I know a lot of Tar Heels will mention this game, by my favorite UNC-Duke memory will always be from my freshman year in 1998. A classic UNC team (still my favorite) with Antawn Jamison, Ed Cota, Shammond Williams and Vince Carter, ranked #2, beat #1 Duke by 24 points in Chapel Hill. No one who was there will ever forget the almost-dunk that certainly would have blown the roof off of the Smith Center had it gone in. One of my favorite all-time basketball memories.