The Duke vs. North Carolina rivalry has had dozens of memorable moments throughout its history. On Wednesday night, Duke freshman Austin Rivers etched his name into Tobacco Road lore with a 25-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer over Tyler Zeller to give the Blue Devils a come-from-behind 85-84 win. As soon as the dust settled, discussions turned to where the shot would rank among the best moments in the history of the rivalry. For the sake of brevity, we’ve narrowed it down to Duke buzzer-beaters – where does Rivers stack up?
2012 – Austin Rivers
As mentioned above, Rivers’ 3-pointer capped a 13-2 run in the final 2:38 to give Duke a shocking win in Chapel Hill. Rivers finished with 29 points and six 3-pointers, with the final one going down in history.
2004 – Chris Duhon
This wasn’t technically a buzzer-beater, but Duhon’s coast-to-coast reverse layup with 6.5 seconds left in overtime gave Duke an 83-81 victory. After Rashad McCants knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game, Duhon simply raced past the North Carolina defense and then switched hands under the basket to avoid getting blocked. It was a tremendous, yet understated, finish.
1995 – Jeff Capel
Duke was winless in the ACC heading into this one, but that didn’t matter against North Carolina. Down by three with three seconds left, Duke’s Cherokee Parks grabbed a missed free throw and gave it to Capel, who was able to dribble freely past midcourt and hoist a running 3-pointer to sent it into overtime. Carolina eventually pulled it out, but this was memorable.
1981 – Gene Banks
Much like Capel’s shot, this wasn’t a buzzer-beater to win the game; it sent the game into overtime. On Duke’s Senior Day, Duke was down by two, 58-56, with one second left. Banks received the inbounds pass above the foul line, and he only had time to turnaround and shoot. Duke went on to win the game in overtime.
So, which one was the best?