This one belongs in a time capsule to show people of the future what basketball can be at its most emotional, its most intense and its very best.
This was the No. 1 team in the country being blown out of the gym for 34 minutes by an angry, proud team that came out breathing fire and trying to avenge an embarrassing loss.
This was that No. 1 team, Virginia, proving it is truly a great team, endowed with the kind of mental toughness that produces fairy tale finishes, roaring back, even with 10,000 fanatic North Carolina fans screaming at them. From 16 points down with 11:53 to go, from 11 points down with 5:40 to go, the Cavaliers never quit, producing steals when they had to have them and one key basket after another to send the game into overtime before winning 80-79 in a game that ended in a near free-for-all as the players purged 45 minutes of emotion at the final buzzer.
The record will show that Ralph Sampson was absolutely brilliant with 34 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 13 for 16 from the floor in spite of double- and triple-teaming all night. It will also show that Jeff Lamp scored 21 points. What it will not show is that Lamp scored nine of those points in the final 2:25 of regulation as Virginia stunned Carolina by turning the tables on the team that has built its reputation over the years on miracle comebacks.
"You guys saw it," said Virginia Coach Terry Holland of his team, now 9-0 in the ACC, 19-0 overall and winners of 24 straight over two years. "These guys just refused to lose, refused to be beaten."
Indeed. On a night when Carolina's Al Wood was absolutely brilliant with 33 points, 29 in the second half, on a night when Carolina acted as if it intended to recoup its pride, wounded three weeks ago by a Virginia comeback in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers just kept on coming.
"It wasn't so much that we played great at the end, or that we shot great," point guard Jeff Jones said. "It was just that when we had to, we got down and got dirty. Whatever the cliche is, it fits here."
Pick a cliche and use it on this game. The brilliant TV minds who decided not to televise this one in the Washington area should be sued for robbing basketball fans blind.
As intense as the first 34 minutes were, with Carmichael Auditorium rocking as perhaps it has never rocked in its 16 of existence, the last 11 minutes defied belief.
This is how it unfolded.
With 5:45 left and Carolina (7-2 in the ACC, 16-5 overall) in its semispread offense, Wood hit a 15-foot jumper to give the Tar Heels a 58-47 lead. It looked like curtains on the nation's largest winning streak.
Sampson hit two foul shots and Ricky Stokes came up with a steal for a layup. That cut it to 58-51 with 4:10 left. Still a long way to come back against a team that has lost on this court 15 times in 16 seasons.
But Virginia kept pressing and Carolina kept doing un-Carolina things. Tar Heel freshman Sam Perkins threw a pass away and Gar-Field graduate Othell Wilson, superb with seven points and six assists in 30 minutes, went the length of the court for a layup and it was 58-53 with 3:42 to go.
Wood was fouled by Sampson and made both free throws with 2:53 left and it was 60-53, Carolina. Lamp missed a jumper and James Worthy was fouled with 2:34 to go. But he missed the one-and-one and Lamp began his binge with a jumper to make it 60-55 with 2:25 left.
Perkins was called for a charge and Lamp hit a short follow of a Raker miss. Suddenly it was 60-57 with 2:04 remaining. Suddenly, Carolina's players found themselves thinking about the 11 points lead they blew at Virginia when they played the delay poorly.
"It was like seeing an old movie and I hated it," Wood said. "I kept thinking this is happening again and we've got to do something to stop it. But we didn't. They just kept coming."
Wood stopped the Cavaliers briefly with a vicious dunk that made it 62-57 with 1:45 left. Lamp immediately answered from 10 feet. Carolina inbounded and Worthy was called for traveling, a call Tar Heel Coach Dean Smith Complained about later.
Virginia inbounded again and Sampson, passing up an open shot at the foul line, hit Lamp inside. The 6-6 senior made the layup as Wood fouled him and when he made the free throw the game was tied at 62 with 1:21 left, the first time Virginia had been even since 4-4 three minutes into the game.
"I got the points in that stretch but give other guys credit -- Ralph, Othell," Lamp said. "They hit me with some awful good feeds. I had very good, open shots to take."
With 32 seconds left Worthy (18 points, 14 rebounds) tried a bad shot: over Sampson. It came right back at him. He tried again and this time Sampson was called for goal tending and Carolina led, 64-62.
Virginia came back, worked the ball patiently and Wilson found Lamp wide open for a 10 footer from the baseline that tied it again at 64 with nine seconds left.
Black raced the ball upcourt, appeared to travel, wasn't called and fired a 17 foot jumper that rimmed out at the buzzer. Overtime.
"Needless to say we've been very fortunate in some of these games," Holland said, the shot still vivid in his mind. "But look, we really never stopped coming back."
Lamp hit immediately in the overtime, giving Virginia its first lead of the game. Sampson made a foul shot to make the lead 67-64 and the Cavaliers eventually built the margin to 77-71 on a Raker foul shot with 41 seconds left.
Now it was Carolina's turn to try for a miracle. Matt Doherty made two foul shots with 34 seconds left and Sampson was called for his fifth foul seconds later. Worthy hit a jumper with 18 seconds left to make it 77-75. Wilson was fouled on the inbounds and made both with 16 seconds left, making it 79-75.
Wood hit another jumper with six seconds left and was called for charging Gates after the shot, Gates hit the first to make it 80-77 and Wood's jumper at the buzzer produced the final score.
But not the final action.
"As soon as I made the shot all five guys on the court just tried to grab someone and foul," Wood said. "It got to be pushing and shoving pretty quickly."
Lamp in particular took exception to the Way Doherty was grabbing at him and the two started swinging. Wood stepped in. Smith, who had rushed into an earlier scuffle to pull one of his subs off the court, was in on this one too trying to pull players apart. Finally, order was restored and the Cavaliers shook their fists at the shocked crowd that booed them as they left the court.
"I never thought we were out of it," Sampson said.