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Today in Sports History: 4/2 – UNLV Beat Duke in the 1990 NCAA Championship

Today in sports history (1990), the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels destroyed the Duke Blue Devils in the 1990 NCAA Championship. UNLV was led by Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony and Anderson Hunt. Duke was led by Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, Grant Hill and Phil Henderson. Jerry Tarkanian led the Rebels to his only championship win.

Duke was led by no other than Coach K. This game famously ended with UNLV giving Duke the largest loss in NCAA Tournament history, 103-73. This championship win for UNLV also marked the last time that a team from outside a power-five won the National Championship.

Duke UNLV National Championship
Credit: Al Behrman/AP Photo

UNLV Destroys Duke in 1990 NCAA Championship

One of the major stories of this UNLV team was that they were ranked number one in the preseason poll. They became the first team since North Carolina in 1982 to win the championship after being ranked number one in the preseason poll. This UNLV team is often thought of to be one of the greatest college basketball teams of all time.

Larry Johnson led the way for the Rebels, scoring just over 20 points per game. Though Johnson was the force and the best player on this team, Anderson Hunt lead the Runnin Rebels in scoring in the championship, scoring 29 points. Greg Anthony was the floor general of this team. The six-foot guard led the team in assists at just over seven a game. Stacey Augman led the Rebels though in assists in the championship, recording seven.

What helped UNLV win this game though was their defense on Duke star Thomas Hill. Hill was held to six points on 2-6 shooting. Christian Laettner did all he could, finishing the game with 28 points. Johnson and Greg Anthony assisted Hunt in this game, scoring 13 and 19 points, respectively.

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