The pace of the game was much slower in 1982 than 2020, mostly due to the lack of a shot clock. The court spacing is also condensed due to the lack of a 3-point line at the time in college basketball.
The Hoyas' Patrick Ewing dominated inside, but was matched on the other end by Worthy, who finished with a game-high 28 points. Worthy’s performance was impressive, but hardly the most memorable aspect of the game.
With North Carolina down by one, Jordan knocked down a wide-open jumper to take the lead with 15 seconds remaining. Immediately following that, Worthy came up with a steal to seal the win and give Dean Smith his first national championship.
April 5, 1993: National Championship vs. Michigan
The Wolverines were coached by Steve Fisher and featured the iconic Fab Five, a group that had reached the 1992 national championship with all first-years in the starting lineup.
North Carolina was led by the sharp shooting of Donald Williams, who had a game-high 25 points and five three-pointers. On the other end, Chris Webber led Michigan with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
The game was ultimately decided in the final 20 seconds with North Carolina up by two. After a missed free throw, Webber grabbed the rebound and ran directly to the Michigan bench. Trapped by a double team, Webber called a timeout without realizing that Michigan had none left, and North Carolina iced the game with two technical free throws to seal another title.
March 6, 2005: vs. Duke
We would be remiss to leave a Duke game off the list, especially one with such a dramatic ending.
After dropping the first game of the season series in Cameron Indoor Stadium, No. 2 North Carolina trailed at halftime and was down by seven with three minutes remaining after allowing a 9-0 run by the No. 6 Blue Devils. A put-back by Jawad Williams, free throws by Marvin Williams and an and-1 by Sean May cut the lead to two.
With under twenty seconds left, the Duke lead was just one point.
After a missed free throw, Marvin Williams grabbed the offensive rebound and made a wild shot off the glass while taking a foul to give the Tar Heels the lead. UNC held on to win, 75-73.
March 15, 2008: ACC Tournament vs Virginia Tech
The No. 1 Tar Heels were matched up against Virginia Tech in the 2008 ACC Tournament Semifinal. Though UNC was favored, Virginia Tech played up to its opponent and nearly pulled off the upset.
The game was tied at 38 apiece coming into the second half. Though North Carolina decimated the Hokies in the regular season, the team trailed by as many as seven in the second half.
The Tar Heels got a late rhythm after Wayne Ellington tied the game at 59 on a stepback three. From there, both teams traded shots until the game was tied at 66.
In the final seconds, Ty Lawson missed a contested layup, but it was recovered by Tyler Hansbrough. Psycho T knocked down a jumper with 0.8 seconds left and broke out a now-iconic celebratory dance.
March 26, 2017: Elite Eight vs. Kentucky
North Carolina’s road to the Final Four went through the Wildcats, a team that beat the Tar Heels earlier that season behind 47 points from Malik Monk. Kentucky’s team also featured future NBA All-Star Bam Adebayo and the eventual fifth overall pick, De’Aaron Fox.
The Elite Eight matchup in Memphis wasn't as high-scoring, though the intensity ramped up late in the game. Monk, quiet most of the game game, hit two clutch threes to tie the game at 73.
Though there was one timeout remaining for UNC, Theo Pinson took the inbounds pass, sprinted down the court and dished it to Luke Maye, who hit the shot of his career with 0.3 seconds left to give the Tar Heels the victory. The unexpected rise of the former walk-on gave North Carolina its second consecutive trip back to the Final Four.
April 3, 2017: National Championship vs. Gonzaga
Redemption was the word for the Tar Heels all season after a heartbreaking loss in the 2016 national championship against Villanova. When North Carolina made it back to the title game, it was against the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Despite an abysmal shooting performance, the Tar Heels battled in a game that featured 11 ties and 12 lead changes.Joel Berry II made all four threes for the Tar Heels in his 22-point performance.
The riveting game was decided when Kennedy Meeks blocked a Nigel Williams-Goss floater, which led to an outlet pass from Berry to Justin Jackson for the dunk, completing a season-long comeback tour.
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