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The Daily Tar Heel

1993 recap: ‘Average Joes’ take crown

Center Eric Montross had 16 points in North Carolina’s 77-71 defeat of Michigan in the 1993 national championship game. DTH file
Center Eric Montross had 16 points in North Carolina’s 77-71 defeat of Michigan in the 1993 national championship game. DTH file

Lynch. Montross. Williams.

Not exactly the awe-inspiring 1982 trio of Jordan, Worthy and Perkins.

But whatever the 1993 version of the North Carolina men’s basketball team lacked in star power, it made up for with style.

Besides bearing witness to perhaps the most famous timeout in college basketball history (see Webber, Chris), the Tar Heels also displayed unwavering resilience with their backs against the wall.

In the NCAA tournament alone, UNC rebounded from a 10-point deficit three times, including a 23-13 mark against Michigan in the championship game.

But the team’s greatest comeback came in a conference game against a Florida State team stocked with future NBA players Sam Cassell, Charlie Ward and Bob Sura.

Down 73-54 to the Seminoles with just less than nine minutes remaining in a regular season game, the Tar Heels staged a furious rally.

With 6:52 left, North Carolina already had cut the margin to 73-69, and the Tar Heels were just getting started. FSU scored only four more points the rest of the way as UNC squeaked out an 82-77 victory.

Other than that game, North Carolina was barely challenged during the regular season. UNC had three separate streaks of at least eight wins, and it began the season by winning 17 of 18 games.

The only real stumble the Tar Heels had was a two-game losing streak to Wake Forest and Duke in February, but UNC lost only one game, the ACC tournament final, the rest of the way.

The Tar Heels finished the season with a sterling 34-4 record and were led by Final Four MVP Donald Williams, forward George Lynch and center Eric Montross.

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu. 

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