What an incredible finish at Chapel Hill on Wednesday night.
Austin Rivers said before the Duke-North Carolina game that he would have a major impact on the contest. A freshman in a pressure situation hitting the game-winning trifecta in the greatest rivalry of them all, that is a major impact, my friends.
I was calling the showdown between the Tar Heels and Blue Devils for the 40th time in my career. This one ranked as another classic, one that fans will be talking about for years.
Duke doesn't lose back-to-back games often. Coming off a defeat against Miami over the weekend, things did not look good for the Blue Devils with three minutes left. Coach K's kids had a shot because of the three-pointer, and they took advantage of it.
North Carolina could not put the opponent away. The Tar Heels stopped going inside to Tyler Zeller, and that was a factor.
So was the trifecta, baby! Duke hit 14 of them, while Carolina hit one! You don't have to go to Harvard to know that was an important stat in a one-point game.
Rivers was so calm on that last sequence, hitting the long-range jumper to end the game. He hit six of them for the game, finishing his first Duke-North Carolina game with 29 points.
Even though Rivers plays a different position, it reminded me of the performance of another freshman in a Duke win over Carolina. Elton Brand was brilliant in rallying his team to get to the winner's circle, a game I picked as one of my top three favorites in the rivalry.
This was a big win for the Blue Devils. This will clearly boost their confidence as the ACC standings took a wacky turn. Florida State was upset at Boston College on Wednesday, leaving the race for the top spot in the standings wide open.
North Carolina played a solid game, but did not finish Duke off when it had the opportunity. It was a tough loss for Roy Williams to swallow, though his team played a lot better than they did in the 33-point loss at Florida State.
This Tar Heels team is still one of the best in America. I believethey will re-group and do very well down the stretch in ACC play.
For one night, Austin Rivers can celebrate a magical moment. I am sure that he made his father, Doc Rivers (who was in attendance) very proud.