If you weren’t alive 50 years ago then you could not have witnessed the miraculous way that the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team beat Duke, but you’ve probably heard about it and maybe even seen the last 17 seconds of the game on YouTube.

Well, you’re about to hear a lot more about it in the coming weeks since March 2, 2024, is the 50th Anniversary of one of the most cherished memories for UNC fans.

The Carolina Alumni website has posted a video showing footage of the end of the game interlaced with interviews with key players remembering the sequence of events.  The magazine that goes out to Rams Club members has an article about it, and on March 26, the university is presenting a special lecture on the game as part of its North Carolina History Series. On social media, UNC fans are reminding everyone what happened a half century ago.

It was March 2, 1974, when Duke led UNC by 8 points with 17 seconds left.  A series of mishaps and a missed free throw by Duke along with steals and baskets by Carolina led to a last second shot by Walter Davis that sent the game into overtime. UNC won easily in that overtime period.

The shot Davis made was a very long one taken just after he had crossed the halfcourt line.  It hit the backboard and went through the net and Davis, who passed away last year at the age of 69, admitted later that he wasn’t trying to bank the shot in.

UNC also got the best of Duke on April 2, 2022, beating Duke in the Final Four and ruining a storybook ending to Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s career.

Before that 2022 game, a prognosticator on ESPN said there was no way Duke could lose that game because the basketball gods would not allow it. But Carolina did win.

However, after that big win, the UNC Tarheels lost in the National Championship game.

Carolina was picked to be the number one team in the country by a preseason poll the following year, but completely failed to launch.

After Carolina’s team got off to a very rocky start, the Rhino Times ran an article, “Did UNC Anger The Basketball Gods By Defeating Coach K?”  The answer turned out to be yes, very much so. The preseason number one Tarheels, amazingly, did not even make it to the NCAA Tournament the year after their appearance in the national finals.

Duke and UNC play each other next on Saturday, March 9.