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YouTube Gold: Duke vs. Navy In The 1986 Eastern Regional Finals

David Robinson was superb but Duke was better

Naval Academy David Robinson, 1986 NCAA East Regional Finals
NCAA Playoffs: Navy David Robinson (50) in action, block vs Duke Mark Alarie (32). East Rutherford, NJ 3/6/1986
SetNumber: X32861 TK5 R4 F33

David Robinson was an amazing phenomenon at Navy. Recruited as an overlooked 6-7 forward, he shot up to nearly 7-0 in a big hurry and Navy, for the first and only time, had a genuine basketball sensation on its hands.

Navy got all the way to the East Regional Finals in 1986 but ran into Duke. And while Duke was much shorter - Jay Bilas started at center at 6-8 - the Blue Devils were far more talented overall. Navy couldn’t match Duke’s backcourt of Johnny Dawkins and Tommy Amaker and this team had Danny Ferry and Billy King coming off the bench.

When it came down to it, the Blue Devils ran by the Midshipmen 71-50. Robinson did finish with 23 points and 10 rebounds but the Blue Devils held Navy to 39.6 percent from the floor and also forced 17 turnovers. Duke also dominated the boards, 45-26.

Robinson topped out at 7-1 and became an all-time NBA great. His battles with the great centers of his era - Ralph Sampson, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Parish and Shaquille O’Neal - became the stuff of legend.