Underdog North Carolina beat Duke, 82-67, here today because the nation's No. 1 ranked college basketball team put up enough bricks to build a wall from here to Chapel Hill.
Shots so misguided, so homely, so heavy as to have no chance of going through the hoop are bricks. They clang against the rim. Purists avert their eyes from the likes of Duke's 42.5 percent shooting today. Even shooting free throws, Duke's bricklayers were five for 11.
"We had a little trouble with the orange rim," said the losing coach, Bill Foster, using sarcasm to explain the inexplicable shooting of a veteran team that hit 53 percent in it first 13 games.
Now Duke has lost twice in a week after going undefeated in the first dozen games, and Carolina now has beaten a No. 1 team on its home court twice this season (earlier doing it at Indiana).
By going to its masterful four-corners offense with about 13 minutes to play, Carolina secured its second victory in four Atlantic Coast Conference games. Duke is 1-2 in the ACC.
Because Carolina feared Duke's mighty offensive rebounders and because Carolina star James Worthy had four fouls, Coach Dean Smith sent the Tar Heels into the delay-spread offense when his team led, 51-42, with 13:24 to go.
Though Duke tied the game at 56-all six minuted later and had the capacity crown of 8,564 fired up, Carolina never folded.From that point on, in fact, Carolina made 16 straight free throws -- and 18 of its last 19 -- to end up with 30-of-37 free throw shooting.
"It was one of those fun times in college athletics," said Smith, whose team now has an 8-3 won-lost record.
Foster didn't think it was all that nice a time. Losing at home to Carolina for the first time in almost two years -- Duke won twice in that time here -- Foster looked at a sheet of statistics and pronounced the game incredible.
"Look at these statistics, they blow my mind," he said.
The coach had reference to these numbers: Duke took 29 more shots than Carolina, but made only five more baskets (31 of 73, 26 of 44) . . .Duke had no more turnovers than Carolina (13 each), and the losers had more rebounds (34-30) . . . But Carolina committed only 15 fouls to Duke's 26, producing the lopsided free throw numbers.
"I thought I felt bad when the game was over," Foster said. "But now that I've seen these statistics I've had a relapse."
Carolina's 30-5 advantage in free throws seemed to bother Foster most. Was that a comment on the officiating?
"I commented on the officiating for 40 minutes out there and it didn't help," he said.
Foster admitted Duke played poorly.
"We didn't play quick and we didn't play alertly," he said. "Except for a stretch of 10 minutes in the second half -- from 15 minutes to go until five minutes -- we didn't play well at all."
"We were like strangers today," said Gene Banks, the Duke strongman forward who made six turnovers.
Carolina led, 53-48, when Duke was in the middle of its best run of the day. The Tar Heels called a timeout, at which point the boisterous Duke students -- often given to obscenities directed at the referees -- put up an eerie mournful chant of "We're . . . going . . . to . . . get . . . you."
Mike Gminski, the 6-foot-11 Duke center, had just stuffed a lob pass, his third bucket in 4 1/2 minutes. It seemed the Blue Devils, indeed, were going to get the Tar Heels, who here might have remembered an 86-74 loss to Duke six weeks ago.
It was tied, 56-all, when Carolina came up with what Smith called "the big play of the game."
Defending against the Carolina spread, Duke had mixed up it calls, using a zone at times, a man-to-man at times.
When Carolina backed the ball out, dawdling, Duke called a switch from its zone to a man-to-man.
Instantly, Carolina's Rich Yonakor, a big center dribbling the ball 35 feet from the hoop, spotted an unattended Tar Heel under the basket.
"Nobody noticed me until the ball was going through the net," said Al Wood, the game's leading scorer with 20 points produced on nine-of-12 shooting.
"Al was so wide open I thought maybe Duke was suckering me," Yonakor said.
"We were trying to change defenses," said Bob Bender, a Duke guard. "We just played poorly," Poster said. "But you have to give Carolina credit for that." He addeded, "I guess."