March Rewind: '91 Duke Survives Scare From NE Louisiana


What's March without Duke Tournament basketball? With this year's ACC and NCAA Tournaments cancelled, we'll go back in time to look at the top Blue Devils postseason games from each date in March and early April. Special thanks to for boxscores and the Duke Library for the newspaper archive.

In their first NCAA Tournament game since losing to UNLV by a record-setting 30-point margin, the No. 2 Blue Devils stared down the barrel of more ignoble NCAA history.

The Blue Devils trailed 15-seed Northeast Louisiana for the first 10 minutes, by as many as six and led by six points at half, prompting coach Mike Krzyzewski to knock over a chalkboard in the locker room at halftime, according to several players. Still, Duke looked up with 15:14 remaining in the game to see their lead cut to three points.

The Blue Devils struggled with Northeast Louisiana’s press and struggled to defend the much-smaller Indians.

Duke found another gear, however, going on a 23-6 run over 6:24, with Christian Laettner scoring eight over that span. Duke stormed to a 102-73 opening-round win in Minneapolis’ Metrodome. The Blue Devils move on to face Iowa in the second round.

The Blue Devils, who Chronicle reporter Seth Davis (unsuccessfully) tried to nickname the “Duke Skywalkers,” had big games from Laettner, who went 8-of-12 from the field for a team-high 22 points. Thomas Hill added 18.

Bobby Hurley only scored five but dished out eight assists. Grant Hill chipped in nine points, while Brian Davis (15) and Bill McCaffrey (17) adding scoring off the bench.