Christian Laettner hit two free throws with 11 seconds to play and Duke burst Nevada Las Vegas’ dream of an unbeaten season with a 79-77 victory in a semifinal game of the NCAA basketball tournament Saturday at the Hoosier Dome.
Laettner finished with 28 points in leading Duke to the finals, where it will face Kansas, a winner over North Carolina in a game earlier Saturday.
UNLV, the defending champion, had come into the game with a 45-game winning streak and an opportunity to become the first team to repeat as champion since the 1973 UCLA Bruins and the first undefeated champion since Indiana in 1976.
The Runnin’ Rebels (34-1) had spent the entire season as the No. 1 ranked team and once Christmas rolled around they were unanimous for all but one week.
They had won their four tournament games by an average of 18 points, impressive except for a team that won by an average of 30 during the season.