Ultimate March Madness Regional Finals: 1992 Duke Blue Devils vs. 1956 San Francisco Dons

Will Duke bedevil the Dons?

Okay, who advances to the final four? Both teams were dominant in their own eras but how would they fare against each other?

Starting Lineups

1956 San Francisco Dons

G – K.C. Jones

G – Hal Perry

Forward – Carl Boldt

Forward – Mike Farmer

Center – Bill Russell

1992 Duke Blue Devils

G – Bobby Hurley

G – Thomas Hill

Forward – Grant Hill

Forward – Brian Davis

Center – Christian Laettner

First Half

The big question in this game will be can the Dons control Duke’s forwards and what does Laettner do about Russell?

The game tips off and the Dons go underneath right away to Russell who scores. The Blue Devils respond with Grant Hill driving and dunking to tie the game at 2. The rest of the first half is evenly played because great guard play from Hurley and Jones negate each other as they consistently feed Grant Hill and Bill Russell. Both players end the half with 20 points each. The difference in the first was Hurley’s ability to score as he hit three 3-point shots and K.C. Jones was held to just one basket. Thomas Hill helping out when Jones would drive to the basket helped negate Jones as a scoring threat. Thomas Hill chipped in a couple of big baskets in the last minute of the half as Duke took a 37-28 lead.

2nd Half

Bill Russell hit his first three shots of the second half but it was obvious if he was the only player for the Dons scoring they would be in trouble. 5 minutes into the half, with the Devils lead reduced to 40-34, Coach K inserted Cherokee Parks to help double team Russell and it did slow the Dons down.

A big old fashioned three-point play by Laettner put the Devils lead back up to double digits with just 9 minutes left in the game, moving the score to 53-42.

The drive and dish ability of Hurley was killing the Dons, who were having a hard time defending Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, and Thomas Davis–they got easy basket after easy basket. With just 3 minutes left in the game, it had become obvious the Devils were going to advance to the Ultimate Final Four.

The Blue Devils would run away late win this battle 75-61. Bill Russell would end the game with a hard-earned 35 points and 17 rebounds, but the difference was Bobby Hurley, who only scored 16 points but also had 12 assists.

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