The Duke-UNC rivalry never really has low points but it does have some high points. The Art Heyman/Larry Brown fight in Cameron. UNC’s 8 point comeback in 16 seconds. Robby West. Austin Rivers. Wendell Moore’s thrilling buzzer beater this season.
There may not have been a more intense period of sustained intensity though than the late 1980s.
Duke had made clear that it was no flash in the pan program. It had made the Final Four in 1986 and 1988. It had made the Sweet 16 in 1987 despite losing four starters.
UNC was very tough too. The Tar Heels had JR Reid, Jeff Lebo, Steve Bucknall, Scott Williams and Rick Fox.
People don’t really remember how celebrated Reid was coming out of high school or how much intensity he brought into the rivalry.
And Duke had Danny Ferry, who managed to aggravate a lot of people, and freshman Christian Laettner, who would soon set a whole new standard when it came to aggravating people.
So the games of the late ‘80s were insanely intense. And that includes this one from March 3, 1989, in the Dean Dome.
This is a good one with Duke pulling out a win - but it wasn’t for sure until the very last seconds. Typical Duke-UNC. We’re such lucky people.