Thursday's game even went down to the final second -- and beyond.
In another memorable classic, the Blue Devils won in overtime, 83-81, to hand Roy Williams a loss in his first shot at Duke as Carolina's head coach.
Chris Duhon's reverse layup with 6.5 seconds left in overtime lifted the Blue Devils to their 16th straight victory overall and fifth in the last six years in the Smith Center.
The victory also lifted Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to .500 in his career against UNC, giving him 28 wins and 28 losses.
The Blue Devils looked to have victory wrapped up after J.J. Redick gave Duke a three-point lead with 40 seconds left in regulation. But UNC's Jawad Williams hit a three-pointer to send the game to overtime.
The Tar Heels came back from a 12-point first-half deficit to force the extra period against the nation's No. 1 team.
"Win or lose, you had to be excited about being a part of that game," Krzyzewski said. "What a bunch of big-time performances by those kids."
Shelden Williams had 22 points and 12 rebounds for Duke, which moved to 19-1 overall and 8-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference halfway through the league schedule.
Williams had two of his five blocks in overtime. He also came up with a big defensive play in the final minute to force a turnover by the Tar Heels, who dropped to 13-6 and 3-5 in the ACC.
Daniel Ewing scored 19 points for Duke. Luol Deng had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Redick added 14 points.
Rashad McCants scored 27 points for North Carolina, including a three-pointer with 13 seconds left in overtime that tied the game at 81.
Sean May had 15 points and 21 rebounds for the Tar Heels. But he was just seven-for-18 from the field and missed a number of close-in shots.
The sellout crowd of 21,750, most wearing "Turn It Blue" T-shirts, was loud all night. But it was roaring and shaking the floor when McCants' fast-break dunk with 5:45 to go gave North Carolina a seven-point lead, 69-62.
Duke then turned up the defense and went on a 10-0 run, taking a 72-69 lead on two free throws by Deng with 1:06 left.
May scored on a rebound with 53 seconds to go. Redick restored the three-point lead on a drive with 38 seconds left.
North Carolina called a timeout, and Jawad Williams hit his only 3-pointer of the game with 18 seconds to go to tie it. Ewing missed a 3 with three seconds left for Duke.
Shelden Williams was a force inside in the overtime. His defense forced North Carolina into a 35-second shot clock violation with 22 seconds left.
Redick then made two free throws to make it 81-78. McCants, who finished two-for-four from 3-point range, drilled the 3 that tied it and set the stage for Duhon's heroics.
Melvin Scott missed a 3 at the buzzer for North Carolina, and it was appropriate that Shelden Williams grabbed the game's final rebound.
Duke is 5-0 on the road in the ACC this season. The other eight teams in the conference have a total of five road victories.
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