No game inspires more cliches than the Carolina Duke rivalry. Tonight, when Soulja Roy leads his troops into battle, you're guaranteed to hear how far apart the two shools are, see the Jason Capel shot (isn't it funnt how so many Duke fans love this moment, and it was a loss and Coach K wasn't a part of it), and about how Larry Brown and Art Heyman took the rivalry to a new level. Many Duke fans... correction, some older Duke fans that realize that the program existed before Coach K and the '91 season will tell you that fight cost Duke the championship. I'm not above saying anything nice about Duke, but it generally involves their women and birthing hips, which in certain company isn't considered complimentary. With any further ado, here's the top ten individual performances by Carolina players in the rivalry.
10. Al Wood - Carolina's first win over a Duke team ranked #1 in the country (they weren't ranked that high very often back in the day). The Heels were previously 0-2 when Duke was ranked in the top spot, Al Wood led all scorers with 20 points en route to ruining Mike Gminski's final game in Cameron against the Tarheels. Wood also scored 14 in a 25 drubbing of the Devils in the final game of the regular season. Wood's best performance, however, came in the ACC tournament game in which Duke prevailed. Wood had 32 points, the only Tarheel with more than seven in the game, but Duke prevailed behind the G-man's 24 points and 19 rebounds.
9. George Karl - In the only time the two teams have met in postseason play (beyong the ACC tournament), George Karl led the Heels with 21 points in the semifinal round of the NIT. Carolina would go on to win the NIT, and Duke would lose the third place game to St. Bonaventure. More known for his defense, Karl's offensive outburst was key following a knee injury to leading scorer Dennis Wuycik. Forward Bill Chamberlain would win the MVP for the tournament, but it wouldn't have been possible with out Karl's performance against the Blue Devils.
8. Steve Hale - In January of 1986, the Dean Dome opened its doors for the first time, and rather than playing a patsy to insure an easy first victory, the Heels invited Duke to be their first victim opponent. A tightly contested game, saw the Heels emerge victorious 95-92, behind excellent performances by two Heels: Brad Daugherty and Steve Hale. Daugherty posted a double-double (23-11), but Hale had 28 points on 10 of 12 from the field and 8 of 9 from the charity stripe. Hale would later suffer a collapsed lung against Maryland, and while on the bench at Cameron, was chided with chants of "In-Hale, Ex-Hale," a chant that is credited with the start of the national recognition of the Crazies as Dickie V's favorites.
7. J.R. Reid - The most controversial period of the Dean Smith/Coach K rivalry centered around J.R., in 1989 Duke fans had signs that stated, "J.R. can't Reid." For Duke fans, it was little more than (semi)clever word play, but for Dean Smith, a man that had been a part of the civil rights movement, the sign crossed a line. Reid always played well against the Devils, putting the team on his back in a 1988 game, where the team fell short, leading the team to a 20-point beatdown of a top ranked and undefeated Duke team in the first meeting in 1989, but his best performance was in the '89 ACC tournament championship game. Reid led the team in scoring, but with only 14 points it was his defense that contributed most to the victory. Danny Ferry was the National Player of the Year, but struggled mightily against Reid, matching Reid's fourteen points, but on 20 shots and was held to only three rebounds.
6. Raymond Felton - With Duke riding a six game series winning streak, and having won eleven of the last twelve, an unranked Carolina needed a spectacular effort to knock off tenth ranked Duke in March of 2003. Duke was led by JJ Redick, Shelden Williams, Chris Duhon, and Dahntay Jones and had been ranked in the single digits all season, until a one point loss to St. John's (led by Marcus Hatten's 29). One week later, the strode into the Dean Dome to face a Carolina team searching for it's identity with young coach Matt Doherty at the helm. Spurned on by two of their freshmen, Rashad McCants and Raymond Felton Carolina would snap the losing streak. McCants was the top scorer in the game with 26, but Raymond Felton had 18 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds (nearly a crappy triple double) to lead the Tarheels.
5. Bob Lewis - Fresh off the Art Heyman era, Duke had captured seven straight against the Heels (their longest streak in the rivalry, Carolina has twice won eight straight). In January of 1965, Duke was ranked in the top ten and Dean Smith was being hung in effigy. Billy Cunningham famously tore down that effigy and was a big player against Duke in Durham, but it was Bob Lewis who shone through. Lewis's 21 points trailed Cunningham by only one, but his 12 rebounds were instrumental in securing a 65-62 victory over the favored Devils. This was only Dean's second win against Duke in his fifth season at Chapel Hill. Smith would recover to go 59-35 against Duke, and 24-14 against Coach K.
4. Joseph Forte - Perhaps the most forgotten Tarheel of the last twenty years (mostly
because fans of other teams won't let us forget Makhtar), Forte was a one man wrecking crew against the Devils. In 2000, he forced overtime with a dramatic three, but his best show came in Cameron in February of 2001. The game was the first against Duke for rookie head coach Matt Doherty and his team faced an uphill climb against the number 2 ranked Devils led by Jason (now Jay) Williams, Mike Dunleavy, and Carlos Boozer. Forte stole the show, scoring 24 and grabbing 16 rebounds. At 6' 3" he outrebounded everyone, including his teammate, 7-footer Brendan Haywood. Forte won ACC rookie of the year in 2000, and this game helped earn him 2001 ACC POY honors, and also insured that every Duke team that has won a national championship, has also lost that same year to UNC.
3. Jerry Stackhouse and Danny Green - Need you ask why?
2. Tyler Hansbrough - Few games have been as satisfying in for Tarheel fans, than senior night in Cameron 2006. In both JJ Redick's and Shelden Williams's final games in the building, it was a freshman that stole the show, outplaying both of them. Hansbrough had 27 points, 10 rebounds, and even a three pointer to clinch the 83-76 final. Tonight Hansbrough (and Danny Green) will attempt to go 4 for 4 in games at Cameron, something no player has ever done at Carolina (The Heels did win five straight from '73 to '77).
1. Walter Davis - Eight points in seventeen seconds. Along with senior Bobby Jones, who scored 24, it was again a freshman, Walter Davis, whose 31 points paced the team to a 96-92 overtime win against the Devils. Coach Smith famously predicted, "We can win this game. Bobby is going to make these free throws, we're going to put a trap on them and get a steal and score quickly." Jones did, the tem did get the steal, and then a long pass after a missed free throw by Mitch Kupchak to Davis set up a 30-foot bank shot at the buzzer to tie the game in arguably the greatest comeback in college basketball history.