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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
No Average Joe could have been so relaxed
By Phillip Lee
Special to ESPN Classic
To steal a phrase from an ESPN anchor, "as cool as the other side of the pillow." That's the best way to describe North Carolina's Joe Quigg as he sank two free throws to give the Tar Heels the win in the finals of the 1957 National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament. Quigg and the Tar Heels knocked off Wilt Chamberlain and the Kansas Jayhawks in triple overtime.
"I felt good," said Quigg, who is a retired dentist. "I didn't feel nervous at all. I knew I had two shots and we were only down by one. If it would have been a one-and-one, it might have been different."
Quigg got to the line when he drove the lane against Chamberlain and the Jayhawks.
"They threw the ball in to me on the out of bounds play and I knew rather than to take a jump shot on Chamberlain so I drove the lane and got fouled," said Quigg, a native of Brooklyn. "We called timeout and coach (Frank) McGuire told us what to do after I made the foul shots. It was just one of those games. I felt confident. I didn't feel nervous at all. I made both of them."
To cap it off, Quigg knocked away a pass intended for Chamberlain and North Carolina won the game as time expired.
"They took the ball out," Quigg said. "They came down and tried to pass it into Wilt and I was able to deflect the pass. It went to Tommy Kearns and he threw it up in the rafters."
Quigg said making the shot will be a memory he and others will always have, but also believes there are other things just as memorable in his life.
"There's probably never a week that doesn't go by, especially (during tournament time), that somebody doesn't say something about (the game)," Quigg said. "Having made the shots, it's been wonderful. Doing some other things in life are actually more important, but that's wonderful for a sporting thing to have that done. I graduated from dental school; have been married for 39 years and raised two children. What's more important than that?"
Did you know that North Carolina played back-to-back triple overtime contests in the Final Four? The Tar Heels knocked off the Michigan State Spartans, 74-70, in triple overtime and then had to play the next day and battled Kansas in another triple overtime contest.
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