DURHAM, N.C. -- On the sideline, North Carolina coach Matt Doherty said a little prayer for his 7-foot center. On the foul line, that center was thinking about Christmas day, waking up in Greensboro and skipping the presents to go to a gym and shoot free throws.
Then Brendan Haywood thought this: "All I have to do is hit one free throw and we win. I'm a 50-percent shooter. I know I can hit one."
He hit two and No. 4 North Carolina won 85-83 -- but only after a missile from No. 2 Duke's Chris Duhon was barely off target at the buzzer, ending a college basketball masterpiece Thursday night at deafening Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"I think I aged a little bit today," Doherty, a former Tar Heel, said after his first UNC-Duke game from the bench.
The victory is the 15th in a row for North Carolina (18-2, 8-0 ACC) and puts the Tar Heels ahead of Duke (19-2, 7-1) for first place in the ACC -- and probably ahead of the Blue Devils in the next national rankings.
This is what Haywood's free throws had done. It was the least he could do, he believed.
"I've almost lost some games from the foul line this season," he said. He was hitting 48.6 percent from the line. "I almost cost us the UCLA game. Florida State, too. It was so sweet to win one at the foul line."
And, finally, from Doherty: "There's not a young man who works harder at the foul line than Brendan, and he's scrutinized a lot. Brendan deserves (this)."
Haywood's free throws ruined the heroics of Duke's Michael Dunleavy, who scored six spectacular points in the final minute.
Boozer pressure: North Carolinas Brendan Haywood, left, looks for help as he gets pressure from Dukes Carlos Boozer (4) during the first half on Thursday.
BOB JORDAN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Heroics were needed because, after Duke rallied from a 13-point deficit, UNC had taken control of the game -- leading 80-74 on a Joseph Forte field goal with 58.3 seconds left. Forte had 24 points, a career-high 16 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Duke had come back from bigger deficits, and in less time. Just Saturday, the Blue Devils had rallied from a 12-point hole in the final 66 seconds to win at Maryland. That day, Jason Williams (32 points Thursday) was the late hero. This time it was Dunleavy, who dunked on Jason Capel (20 points, six rebounds, five assists) for a three-point play that cut North Carolina's lead to 80-77 with 51.7 seconds left.
With 3.9 seconds left, after Capel had hit three of four free throws over the previous half-minute, Dunleavy took a pass from Nate James and lofted a three-pointer over Julius Peppers to tie the score at 83.
The game appeared destined for overtime, but Duke senior Shane Battier made an aggressive play that turned into a fatal mistake. Going for the steal on Forte's long diagonal pass, Battier collided with Haywood with 1.2 seconds left, fouling out and sending Haywood to the line.
"I was just trying to bat the ball down and send it to overtime," Battier said. "I was like a defensive back. I guess it was pass interference."
After hitting the first free throw for an 84-83 lead, Haywood asked Doherty if he should intentionally miss the second. No, Doherty said, make it.
Haywood did, but that allowed Duke to set up one final play. After looking long, Dunleavy inbounded to Duhon about 65 feet from the basket. Duhon took a dribble and let fly a shot that looked to have the right distance but was wide left by a few inches, hitting the rim and bouncing off.
"Those shots," Duhon said of his game-winning try, "50 percent of the time you make them and 50 percent you don't."
Same with Brendan Haywood's free throws. Only this time, a 50-percent shooter was 100 percent.
No. 1 Stanford 77, No. 21 Southern California 71
Casey Jacobsen scored 22 points and Michael McDonald hit the last of his six 3-pointers with 50 seconds left as Stanford rallied from a halftime deficit to beat visiting Southern California.
Jason Collins had 20 points and six rebounds as Stanford (20-0, 8-0 Pac-10) kept alive its school-record winning streak, even though the Cardinal didn't take the lead for good until 6:13 remained.
Brian Scalabrine scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half as the fired-up Trojans (15-5, 5-3) never allowed Stanford to pull away.
Oregon 79, No. 7 Arizona 67
Bryan Bracey scored 23 points as Oregon took advantage of a terrible shooting night by visiting Arizona.
Luke Ridnour added 17 points for the Ducks (12-6, 3-5 Pac-10), who won consecutive games against Arizona for the first time since 1983.
Michael Wright scored 18 points for the Wildcats (14-6, 6-2), who shot a season-low 35 percent and committed 18 turnovers.
Hawaii 91, No. 19 Fresno St. 73
Reserve Mindaugas Burneika scored 27 points and Predrag Savovic added 26 as Hawaii rolled to an upset of visiting Fresno State.
The Rainbow Warriors (9-10, 3-5 Western Athletic Conference) didn't waste any time in ending the Bulldogs' 13-game winning streak. They raced to a double-digit lead with the game less than seven minutes old.
Hawaii led 43-32 at halftime and then never let Fresno State (17-3, 6-1) get closer than 10 points.
Tito Maddox finished with 20 points and Melvin Ely 15 for the Bulldogs.
Miami 72, No. 22 Seton Hall 66
James Jones scored a career-high 21 points to lead Miami over visiting Seton Hall.
Jones hit two 3-pointers to key Miami's 18-2 game-opening run as the Hurricanes (11-9, 3-6 Big East) took control.
Darius Lane scored 16 points to lead the slumping Pirates (12-7, 3-5), who lost for the fourth time in five games.