It was a little over 20 years ago to this date. The date was January 27th, 1993. The North Carolina Tar Heels were facing the Florida State Seminoles in the Dean E. Smith Center. Florida State was the “new kid on the block,” and they had the “right stuff,” baby. They were led by the Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, Sam Cassell and Bob Sura. Their three-guard lineup was almost as potent as Georgia Tech’s Lethal Weapon 3 of Kenny Anderson, Brian Oliver and Dennis Scott in 1990.
North Carolina was led by current UNC color commentator Eric Montross (No. 00), Donald Williams (No. 21), Derrick Phelps (No. 14), George Lynch (No. 34), Henrik Rodl (No. 5), Kevin Salvadori (No. 33), Pat Sullivan (No. 3) and Brian Reese (No. 31). This game was very important to the Tar Heels because Florida State dominated North Carolina when they arrived to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in 1992.
Here is some background knowledge about the 1993 season. The Michigan Wolverines were the pre-season No. 1 team and the favorite to win the national championship. They were led by the “Fab Five.” UNC was ranked in the top 10 all season. Other ACC teams that were ranked included the Duke Blue Devils, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and of course, the Florida State Seminoles.
Dean Smith was a mastermind when it came to basketball. Some of the best comebacks in UNC basketball history took place when he was the head coach. This particular game is one of many. Florida State dominated the entire game until 11 minutes were left in the game. This is when Dean Smith implemented a full court press. The rest is history; literally. Carolina won this game, 82-77. Although UNC lost their next two games to Wake Forest (88-62) and Duke (81-67), they still won the national championship. If you watch the video closely, you will see resemblances between George Lynch and James Michael McAdoo, Kevin Salvadori and Desmond Hubert. J.P. Tokoto‘s skill set reminds me of Brian Reese. Joel James should pay close attention to how Montross controlled the post. Here’s to the 1993 Tar Heel squad.
You can view this wonderful 21-point comeback here: