CAPTION: Feb, 8, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; The Duke Blue Devils bench reacts after the Blue Devils won on a last second shot by guard Austin Rivers (0) (not pictured). The Blue Devils defeated the Tar Heels 85-84 at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
Austin Rivers scored 29 points, including the game-winning buzzer beater, as Duke came back from down double digits to beat UNC, 85-84.
Austin Rivers scored 29 points, a Duke freshman scoring record against UNC, including a ridiculous buzzer-beating three as the Blue Devils stunned the Tar Heels on Wednesday night, 85-84. Rivers' shot immediately elevates him into Duke-UNC lore, with the game-winner falling into place among some of the best moments of the series. And it all came after a surprising late-game collapse by the Tar Heels, who seemed to have everything under control for much of the second half.
Rivers was understandably excited after the game, amped up just moments after his game-winner went in. In a live shot on the court, Rivers said he came into the matchup "pissed off" because he felt people were underestimating Duke. Later, he was a bit more measured when reflecting on the win.
"Obviously this is my favorite win I've ever had in my entire life," Rivers said. "And it's because we were down the whole game. The whole game, we were down. They just kept it on us -- 10-point lead, 10-point lead. And then there was 3 minutes left and probably everybody thought we were going to lose, and we just kept fighting. To get a W, it's amazing."
More from SI.com: How Austin Rivers' buzzer beater went down
It was a bad last few minutes for Tyler Zeller, who was in the spotlight with the game on the line. His accidental tip-in, into his own basket, gave Duke two points and brought the Blue Devils within two. At the line with a chance to put North Carolina up three, he made the first and missed the second free throw, setting up Rivers' heroics.
And then there was the final possession. Zeller, at 7-feet tall, got caught on a switch, stuck defending Rivers on the perimeter. The Duke guard dribble around, measured Zeller and drained the game-winning three right over him as time expired, stunning the Tar Heels.
But there was no singular person at fault for the late-game meltdown. North Carolina held a double-digit lead for most of the second half and was up 10 with two and a half minutes to go. From then on, the wheels came off, with Duke hitting a barrage of threes while North Carolina was unable to answer on the other end.
"It really hurts just because of how we played the whole game. For us in the last three minutes just to give it up like that is really depressing," John Henson said after the loss.
If you missed it, here's Rivers' shot one, along with the entire late-game sequence, one more time:
Never a dull moment in the Duke-UNC series.