By Andrew Kahn
A thrilling Tournament was capped last night by a fantastic final, as Duke beat Wisconsin 68-63. It was the fifth championship for Duke and Mike Krzyzewski. The game was tied at half but Duke’s freshmen were just too much. They scored 60 points last night, a championship game record, including every point in the second half.
This outlet tabbed Duke’s other freshman as a Rising Star yesterday, and Grayson Allen delivered. With Duke down nine in the second half, he hit a three, played the passing lane to get a steal and draw a foul, drove to the hoop for an and-one, and drove hard to draw another foul, sinking both free throws, all on consecutive possessions. Later, he made another strong, acrobatic finish at the rim to put Duke ahead, giving him 16 points for the game.
Tyus Jones, MOP
Just as he did against Wisconsin in December, Tyus Jones took over in the second half last night. He scored 19 of his game-high 23 points in the second half and was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Coach K ordered ball screens near the top of the key and Jones drained difficult shots. His three with 4:09 left gave Duke a lead it wouldn’t relinquish; his three with 1:24 left was the dagger, putting Duke up by eight.
Okafor In When It Counts
Jahlil Okafor played only 22 minutes because of foul trouble, but perhaps that left him fresh for the final stretch. With 3:14 left he spun around Frank Kaminky and scored despite Kaminsky grabbing his arms in an attempt to prevent a shot. That basket put Duke up by three. On the next possession, he grabbed an offensive rebound and dropped and laid it in. Those buckets were sandwiched between Jones’ aforementioned threes. Earlier in the game, Okafor missed a few he normally makes and struggled to contain Kaminsky without fouling. The Blue Devils survived his absence thanks to Allen’s offensive surge and Amile Jefferson’s solid interior defense.
Dekker’s Off Night
Sam Dekker had been unstoppable throughout the Tournament, but his shot was off from the beginning on Monday. He airballed his first attempt—an open three—and finished 0 for 6 from deep and 6 for 15 overall. He never got to the free throw line. Credit Duke’s defense, which elevated to a high level after some midseason struggles.
Despite Dekker’s bad game, the junior could still be a lottery pick in June’s NBA draft. Wisconsin will also lose seniors Kaminsky, Josh Gasser, Traevon Jackson, and Duje Dukan. Duke’s situation is more unpredictable. Okafor could very well be the No. 1 overall pick, so it would be a shock if he returned. Justise Winslow is a projected top-10 pick. Tyus Jones could make the jump as well, which would really hurt Duke’s backcourt since Quinn Cook is graduating.
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about college basketball and other sports at AndrewJKahn.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn.