SI Vault
 
aN UnRIVaLeD RIVaLRY
Alexander Wolff
March 06, 1995
When North Carolina and Duke tip off on Saturday night, they will try to take the finest feud in a I of sports to even greater heights
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
March 06, 1995

An Unrivaled Rivalry

When North Carolina and Duke tip off on Saturday night, they will try to take the finest feud in a I of sports to even greater heights

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6

Still, the crew working the Raycom broadcast of the game looked at the Tar Heels' eight-point lead and began rolling the credits. Commentator Billy Packer declared Duke to be 0-8 in the ACC. On Franklin Street, patrons poured from the bars to begin their alfresco celebrations. And that's when Carolina's lead began to disappear into a sort of Triangle Bermuda Triangle.

Duke's Trajan Langdon sank a shot from beyond the arc to make the score 94-89. McInnis dropped in a free throw, but 10 seconds later Blue Devil Jeff Capel scored a layup, drew a foul and converted an old-fashioned three-point play. Suddenly Duke trailed only 95-92. Serge Zwikker soon found himself standing at the line for Carolina, contemplating two foul shots with four seconds remaining. He missed the first, then the second, at which point Capel rushed up the floor. Leaping off one foot, he looped the ball toward the hoop from a few steps inside half-court.

From his vantage point Tar Heel guard Pearce Landry knew the shot would fall. "It's the Cameron ghosts," he would say. "You know a shot like that is going in as soon as it goes up. You can't fight the ghosts." And so the television guys went nowhere, and the premature celebrants filed back into the boîtes of Franklin Street, and Packer and Vitale resumed their keening.

Fate didn't come entirely draped in royal blue this time, for Duke didn't win in the second overtime. But only by a few inches—Blue Devil freshman Steve Wojciechowski bounced a 10-footer off the back of the rim just before the buzzer sounded—was Duke deprived of a third overtime in which it might have done unto Carolina what the Tar Heels had once done unto Duke. The two teams merely demonstrated anew that they share something rare and exclusive in their rivalry without rival. "This game went two overtimes because they're Duke and we're Carolina," said guard Donald Williams. "It was the rivalry. Period."

A spot of brandy?

"It didn't matter what the records were," said Parks. "It never matters. It's always like this."

Grand idea. Cheers.

Earlier that evening, an hour or so before the 9 p.m. tip-off, a sportswriter had greeted Pete Gaudet, Krzyzewski's beleaguered, winless-in-the-league stand-in. "Got to do something about these nine-o'clock tips," the sportswriter had said, referring to the deadline difficulties he and his 200 credentialed colleagues would encounter before the night was through.

Gaudet's reply says all that needs saying about the covenant Duke and North Carolina enter into every time they share a court.

"Yeah," he said, "we should be into the second overtime right about now."

1 2 3 4 5 6