Duke Defeats Wisconsin To Win 5th National Championship
Duke and Wisconsin exchanged blows for 40 minutes in a highly contested National Championship, but the Blue Devils got the last punch, winning 68-63.
Blue Devils freshmen Jahlil Okafor, a potential 1rst overall pick in the NBA draft, got into foul trouble early, playing less than 22 total minutes. As he spent time on the bench, a first-year player off the bench came in to lead Duke on a big second half rally.
Grayson Allen, a freshmen out of Jacksonville who averaged 4 points a game this season, scored 16 points, including 8 straight for Duke when the Blue Devils trailed by as many as 8.
"They showed such grit tonight," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "Our bench was spectacular, and like we said about two months ago, eight is enough. Eight is enough."
Eight players played for Duke, while Wisconsin only used 7.
Duke freshmen Tyus Jones looked comfortable on college basketball's biggest stage, leading all scorers with 23 points, including a three pointer with less than two minutes to go that pushed the Blue Devil lead to 8.
Wisconsin senior Frank Kaminsky led his team in scoring with 21 points, continuing his strong play. However, he struggled to find the hoops late, and fouled Okafor on his only made basket late in the game.
The referees were part of the story as well, calling only 2 fouls on an aggressive Wisconsin defense in the first half, but 13 in the second.
"It was a situation where you just have to be able to handle all the hands and the checking," admitted Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan. "There was more body contact in this game than any game we played all year, and I just feel sorry for my guys that all of the sudden a game was like that, and I think they're struggling with that a little bit."
Down 5 with less than two minutes to go, official checked instant replay on a ball knocked out of bounds. The replay clearly showed the Blue Devils touch the ball last, but the officials elected to go with the call on the floor of Duke basketball.
While social media was ripe with official bashing, there was more praise for the game itself, which was hard fought and competitive from wire to wire.
With the victory, Duke and coach Krzyzewski capture their 5th national championship in school history.