Duke freshman guard Tyus Jones scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Blue Devils to a 68-63 win over the fellow No. 1 seed Wisconsin Badgers in the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship game on April 6 in Indianapolis.
The contest turned into an instant classic and delivered Duke (35-4) its fifth national title in school history. But it didn’t come without a hard-fought battle against an excellent Wisconsin team. The lead exchanged 16 times, mostly within the first half. The score was locked at 31 at halftime and it was the Badgers who came out swinging to start the second half. Senior forward Frank Kaminsky and junior forward Sam Dekker made big shots to help Wisconsin eventually build a nine-point lead midway through the half.
But that’s when Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski subbed in freshman guard Grayson Allen, who set a spark to the Blue Devils’ offense, jump-starting the comeback. Allen scored 10 of his 16 total points in the second half; Jones was even better, scoring 19 of his 23 points in the second half. Star freshman center Jahlil Okafor struggled with foul trouble during the majority of the game and finished with just 11 points, but still found a way to make two big shots for Duke down the stretch to help seal the victory.
Kaminsky led Wisconsin (36-4) with a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore forward Nigel Hayes added 13 points for the Badgers.