Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Duke-UNC 1968: The Fred Lind Game

The Duke-North Carolina game on March 3, 1968, at Cameron Indoor Stadium was like many in the 90-year rivalry, riveting with suspense and drama.

But that one was a triple overtime thriller featuring an improbable star -- Duke’s Fred Lind.

A forlorn reserve at that time, Lind came off the bench to score 16 points, grab 9 rebounds and block 3 shots to spark coach Vic Bubas’ Blue Devils to a 87-86 victory over the No. 3 ranked Tar Heels.

Lind, a backup post player, did all that against a UNC team that included two-time ACC Player-of-the-Year Larry Miller, Rusty Clark, Dick Grubar, Bill Bunting and Charlie Scott, a sophomore who became one of the league’s all time greatest players. Coach Dean Smith’s club also went on to win the ACC title and advance to the Final four for the second straight year.

Duke, a top 10 team, was accustomed to winning. But beating its arch rival in three OTs sent the decibels up another level at Cameron and put the “Crazies” in an elevated euphoric state. One hyperactive Blue Devil fan came out of the stands during a time out and danced on the side of the court.

As for Lind, he finished that season with a total of 50 points and 2.8 scoring average. The following season he contributed 10.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. But his name is etched firmly in the Duke-Caroline lore for his sub-to-star transformation in that 1968 game.