February 12, 1984 is a day many Arkansas Basketball fans will never forget as the Razorbacks beat Michael Jordan and the top ranked North Carolina Tar Heels 65-64 in Pine Bluff.
On the 35th anniversary of the upset over UNC we caught up with the guy who made the game winning shot Charles Balentine to get his thoughts on how the game played out ending with his shot with 4 seconds left to pick up the only win over a top ranked team in school history.
Coming out of the timeout called before the Hogs took the lead the play drawn up by head coach Eddie Sutton was called for All-American Alvin Robertson to take the shot.
“The goal was to flare out and let him take the middle. So when it was drawn up Alvin was going to take him on but they read it like a book. Jordan was on me. I can’t remember who was on Ricky, As soon as Ricky tossed the ball to Alvin they circled him. They got around him pretty quickly. You notice in the clip Alvin is trying to find somebody. But they were smothering him pretty well.”
But for Balentine it was about being in the right place at the right time because Jordan came off of guarding Balentine to double up Robertson who found him open going toward the basket.
“I was very surprised. If you noticed I reached out for it. Because I was in my corner, in my spot in that set. When I seen him try to shoot I was going towards the goal and he saw me. It was just a last minute cast, you know pass our there.”
Balentine finished the game 4-8 scoring 10 points but none bigger than executing the game winning shot from point blank range over the fourth overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft Sam Perkins.
“I knew time was running down. The minute I touched it and they sealed the lane. They sealed it pretty quickly. If you notice I kind of flared to the right when I shot it because Sam was right on me. He was looking for the charge. I kind of leaned over and was right there.”
Arkansas was able to hang on and win the game after Steve Hale’s deep jumper from the corner was short hitting the side of the rim as the Hogs walked away with the biggest upset in school history.