Recouping from a 30-point loss in the previous years NCAA championship game, the Blue Devils won a game they were given next to zero chance of winning.
Duke beat top-ranked UNLV 79-77 in the Final Four to end the Runnin’ Rebels dream of a repeat title, an undefeated season and basketball immortality.
The Runnin’ Rebels’ 45 game winning streak — the fourth-longest in Division I history — was ended two games before they could replace the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers as the last undefeated National Champion.
Christian Laettner finished with 28 points and his work on the boards allowed Duke to stay in the game. UNLV took a 76-71 lead with 2:31 to play, before Bobby Hurley hit a 3-pointer 15 seconds later to cut the lead to two.
That set the stage for Duke’s Brian Davis' three-point play and a 77-76 Duke lead with 1:02 left. A Larry Johnson free throw tied the game before Laettner was fouled and made both free throws, the last points of the game.
On UNLV's last possession the ball found itself in the hands of Anderson Hunt for a desperation 3 that banged off the rim giving Duke one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history.
“We did it by not listening to anyone but Coach K and the coaching staff. We went into the game thinking we could win and we went out on the floor and did it today. We had a good game plan, we played our game. And we just played really tough, really intense out there.” -Christian Laettner
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