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The Last Time It Got Really Rough

Arnie Schechter reminds us of the last time a really rough play happened between Duke and UNC in Chapel Hill, with very different reactions
The Henderson-Hansbrough collision reminded me of a potentially much more dangerous incident three years ago during Luol Deng's only game in Chapel Hill.

With about 9 minutes to play, and the game very tight, Deng reached out for a loose ball in front of the Duke bench. David Noel ran over him, smashing his head to the floor and rendering him unconscious for several moments. (I was sitting about 50 feet from where this happened.)

No foul was called, and Rashad McCants scored before play was stopped. While Deng lay on the floor out cold, gracious Carolina fans yelled that he was faking it.

Over the next three minutes, with Deng on the bench, Carolina sandwiched a 9-0 run between two Duke baskets. By the time Deng re—entered the game, Duke was down 69-64. Duke fought back to send the game to overtime, and won on Chris Duhon'’s length-of-the-court dash and reverse layup.

Noel slamming Deng to the floor almost cost Duke the game, and Deng came close to suffering a catastrophic injury. But, of course, no outraged columnists decried this assault, or predicted that it would leave an eternal stain on the honor of UNC basketball.