Duke fights back to beat Wisconsin for collegiate title

Tue Apr 7, 2015 5:25am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Led by its fabulous freshman guards, Duke clawed its way back from a second-half deficit and stung Wisconsin 68-63 to claim the U.S. collegiate national championship on Monday.

Tyus Jones scored 19 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, and unsung first-year player Grayson Allen sparked the Blue Devils with 16 as Duke took the title in Indianapolis giving coach Mike Krzyzewski a fifth national championship. Krzyzewski is now second all-time to John Wooden who owns the record with 10 titles.

"All of them are great. The one you're in this moment with is always the most current and you can feel it the best," Krzyzewski told reporters.

"We were dead in the water (tonight) and Grayson put us on his back, got us in striking distance and then we just said 'Tyson, be you' That's great coaching, I guess."

Duke's triumph was very much in doubt midway through the second half where Wisconsin held a 48-39 advantage with 13:23 remaining, and Duke’s top big men Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow on the bench.

That is when Allen, who came in averaging just four points per game, scored eight straight points to spark an 11-3 run that got them back in the game.

Jones did the heavy lifting from there, making a go-ahead three-pointer with about four minutes left which started a 10-0 spurt that sealed the contest.

"My team mates and the coaching staff have given me confidence and believed and trusted in me all year," said Jones, named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. "That's the biggest thing about this team, we never want to let each other down."

Wisconsin was seeking its first national title since 1941, but fell short despite 21 points from standout Frank Kaminsky who was recently named the College Player of the Year.   Continued...

 
Duke Blue Devils forward Amile Jefferson (21) celebrates as Wisconsin Badgers forward Frank Kaminsky (44) walks off the court after the 2015 NCAA Men's Division I Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports