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Game Thread: UNC vs Iowa

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

ACC/B1G Challenge: North Carolina vs Iowa, 7:30 PM, ESPN

So there is, in fact, a revenge element to this game for UNC. No, not any long held Marcus Paige grudges from back home or taking out the loss to Iowa State on the Hawkeyes. There was a game played between these two in 1989 in the Dean Dome. UNC lost 98-97 after a an officiating error put a better Hawkeye free throw shooter at the line.

Go Heels Adam Lucas explains.

The No. 9 Hawkeyes and No. 6 Tar Heels were tied at 97 with 11 seconds left when the Big Ten officiating crew whistled Carolina for a foul. Steve Bucknall committed the infraction, fouling Ed Horton, who had missed the front end of a one-and-one just four seconds earlier and was 1-for-4 from the line in the game. For the season, he would shoot just 56.9 percent from the stripe, the worst percentage of any Iowa regular.

In other words, although he was putting together a great performance on the way to a 21-point, 19-rebound game, he was the last player the Hawkeyes wanted at the line. So teammate Roy Marble decided to do something about it.

Marble, who just so happened to be a 76.1 percent shooter and 8-for-8 in the game, quickly stepped to the free throw line while Horton backed away. The Smith Center crowd of 21,175 recognized what was happening immediately, even throwing out a few rare boos—Dean Smith usually discouraged booing from the home crowd. They were joined in their confusion by Smith himself, and by Kevin Madden and Jeff Lebo (the current ECU coach, who will be at the Smith Center on Sunday when the Pirates visit at 3 p.m.), who were on the floor at the time of the foul and tried to direct the officials toward Horton.

But Ed Hightower and his officiating crew appeared to be confused by the situation. Marble didn’t just slide to the line, as you sometimes see a savvy player to do in these situations. He vigorously argued that he was the player who should be shooting. In 2014, the play probably would have resulted in the officials going to the replay monitor. In 1989, however, that wasn’t a possibility.

So for J.R. Reid, Keven Madden and Jeff Lebo, the Tar Heels must exact vengeance.

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