The 1990 Men’s NCAA Basketball Final — UNLV and Duke


By Ron Griffitts

Contributing columnist

In a battle featuring two future Hall of Fame coaches, on April 2, 1990 in McNichol’s Arena in Denver the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (34-5) coached by Jerry Tarkanian met the Duke Blue Devils (29-8) led by coach Mike Krzyzewski.

To get to the final, UNLV had defeated Little Rock 102-72, Ohio State led by Jim Jackson 76-65, Ball State 69-67, Loyola Marymount 131-101, and in the final four semifinal Georgia Tech 90-81 to get to the final.

Duke got past Richmond 81-46, St. John’s 76-72, UCLA 90-81, UConn 79-78 in OT, and in the final four semifinal Arkansas 97-83.

The Rebels were led by 6’ 6” junior forward Larry Johnson (20.6 ppg, 11.4 rpg), 6’ 1” sophomore guard Anderson Hunt (15.9 PPG, 4.1 apg), 6’ 6” junior forward Stacey Augmon (14.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg), 6’ 10” senior center David Butler (15.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and 6’ junior guard Greg Anthony (11.2 ppg, 7.4 apg).

The Blue Devils were led by 6’ 4” junior guard Phil Henderson (18.5 ppg), 6’ 11’ freshman center Christian Laettner (16.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg), 6’ 10” senior forward Alaa Abdelnaby (15.1 PPG, 6.6 rpg), 6’ 5” senior forward Robert Brickey (11.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and 6’ freshman guard Bobby Hurley (7.6 apg).

The game proved to be one of the most one sided in years as UNLV led 47-35 at halftime and outscored the Blue Devils 56-38 in the second half for a 103-73 win. Anderson Hunt led the Rebels with 29 points, Larry Johnson had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Greg Anthony had 13 points and six assists and Stacey Augmon had 12 points and 7 assists.

For Duke, Phil Henderson had 21 points, Christian Laettner had 15 points and 9 rebounds and Alaa Abdelnaby had 14 points and 7 rebounds.

The Rebels made 61.2% of their field goal attempts compared to 42.6 for Duke with Anderson Hunt getting the game MVP.

Duke was back the next year in the NCAA final while UNLV has not been back to the NCAA final since 1990.

Jerry Tarkanian finished his career with a 761-202 record with four final four appearances and one NCAA title in his 30 years of college coaching at Long Beach State, UNLV and Fresno State.

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