Rashad McCants hit a 3-pointer with 6.2 seconds left to lift the Tar Heels to an 86-83 victory over the Huskies in a raucous Smith Center. UConn had come back from a 16-point deficit to take a four-point lead in the final minutes.
The Huskies missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the crowd stormed the court to celebrate UNC's 10th victory over a No. 1 team in history.
McCants finished with 27 points for Carolina.
The victory was especially sweet for McCants, who made a costly mistake in Wednesday's game at Maryland. He stepped out of bounds to interrupt an inbounds pass in the final minute of that game, receiving a technical foul and halting any possible UNC comeback hopes in the close loss.
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Meanwhile, over in Durham on Saturday, No. 2 Duke got an 84-72 victory over Wake Forest. Shelden Williams controlled the boards, swatted shots and provided a rugged low-post presence that was the perfect complement to a balanced offense.
J.J. Redick scored 23 points, and Williams had 16 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocked shots to lift the Blue Devils to their 11th straight victory and 36th straight home win. Duke also took over sole possession of first place in the ACC.
The Blue Devils likely will take over the top spot in the polls after UConn's loss.
Interestingly, Duke's women's team also is ranked No. 1 because of a loss by Connecticut. The women recently beat then-No. 1 UConn.
Though basketball rules in the Triangle, there has been great excitement in the area about the Carolina Panthers' game against the Philadelpha Eagles for the NFC Championship. The winner of Sunday's game in Philly advances to the Super Bowl.
So, fans can enjoy perhaps an unprecedented week of big sports victories and excitement should the Panthers join Duke and UNC as winners. For at least Saturday, though, Tobacco Road was rocking.
In another interesting note, UNC and Duke won a day after Dick Vitale -- appearing at a Cary bookstore to sign copies of his new book -- told WRAL's Gerald Owens that
the ACC was the best basketball conference in the country and Duke the best team in the country.
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