Duke beats Wisconsin, 68-63, in national championship game


And the young shall lead them.

All season long, Duke has been led by its heralded freshman class, and that was the case again Monday night, the Blue Devils youngsters leading their team to the NCAA championship with a 68-63 victory over Wisconsin.

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski now has won five NCAA titles -- in 1991, 1992, 2001 and 2010.

He got this one because freshman guard Tyrus Jones refused to let Duke lose, scoring 19 of his 23 points in the second half.

Jones was named the most outstanding player in the Final Four.

Freshman Grayson Allen came off the bench to score 16 points for Duke, including eight straight in the second half.


Duke freshman sensation Jahlil Okafor, widely considered to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, wasn’t a factor because of his inability to deal with Frank Kaminsky, who had 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Kaminsky scored on a drive around Okafor, drawing a foul in the young center, sending him to the bench yet again with his fourth foul with 9:18 left.

Clearly frustrated, Okafor wrapped his arms around his neck as he walked to Duke’s bench.

But he didn’t hang his head for long.

When he returned to the game late in the second half, Okafor went to work.

Okafor scored down low while making Kaminsky commit a foul.

Okafor finished with 10 points and freshman forward Justise Winslow had 11 points and nine rebounds.


Sam Dekker was a little groggy early in the second half after he was elbowed in the face by Jahlil Okafor.

But that didn’t slow down Wisconsin.

After Frank Kaminsky scored inside, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski was forced to call a timeout with his team trailing, 48-39.


With Okafor and Justise Winslow both on the bench with three fouls, freshman Grayson Allen stepped in to fill the void for the Blue Devils.

Allen made a three-pointer and had another three-point play to get Duke back into the game.


The Badgers came out strong to start the second half, opening a 38-33 lead, forcing Duke to call a timeout with 18:32 left.

Bronson Koenig opened the second half with a three-pointer on a pass from center Frank Kaminsky.

After Justise Winslow scored for Duke, Kaminsky scored and Sam Dekker scored for the Badgers.


After Duke’s time out, Jahlil Okafor missed inside because of good defense by Kaminsky. Okafor then picked up his fourth foul on a reach-in on Kaminsky.

But with 15:46 left in both of their seasons, the Badgers led the Blue Devils, 42-39.


Back and forth both teams went, with neither Wisconsin nor Duke backing down.

There were 13 lead changes in the first 20 minutes, with the game being tied, 31-31, at the half.

Nigel Hayes, Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker kept the Badgers in the game.

Hayes and Dekker both had eight points in the first half, and Kaminsky had seven points and seven rebounds.

Duke wasn’t hurt that bad by the foul trouble of center Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow, both of whom had two fouls in the first half and had to sit on the bench for a while.

Winslow had seven points in the first half and Okafor had six points and two rebounds.

Duke had five blocked shots in the first half.



Duke’s defense picked up late in the first half.

The Blue Devils had five blocks in the first half, three by Justise Winslow. But then he picked up his second foul with 7:14 left, forcing Winslow, perhaps Duke’s best defender, to take a seat on the bench.

Duke still led Wisconsin, 21-17, at that point.

Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser returned a few minutes later in the first half after getting his eye checked on in the locker room.


Before Duke and Wisconsin played for the right to be crowned the NCAA national champion Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, much of the conversation centered on how much would the Badgers have left after their stirring and emotional victory Saturday night over Kentucky.

After the first four minutes, 14 seconds of play, the Badgers showed they had come to play, especially big center Frank Kaminsky.

Kaminsky scored Wisconsin’s first basket on a long three-pointer from NBA range.

Then he came back down on defense and took a charge on Duke center Jahlil Okafor.

But after the first time out, Duke led 6-5.

The Badgers saw guard Josh Gasser get poked in the eye by an inadvertently hit from by Justise Winslow.


Gasser had to go back to the locker room for treatment.


Tale of the tape for NCAA title game:

Wisconsin is trying to win its first NCAA title since 1941. The Badgers won the third NCAA title after Oregon in 1939 and Indiana in 1940.

Wisconsin defeated Washington State, 39-34, in the title game played in Kansas City, Mo. Don Timmerman led the Badgers with 13 points, while John Kotz had 12.

If Wisconsin beats Duke it will have done so against the toughest seeding schedule possible. No. 16 Coastal Carolina, No. 8 Oregon, No.4 North Carolina, No.2 Arizona, No.1 Kentucky.

Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky is the third Associated Press national player of the year to play for the title the past four years, joining Kentucky’s Anthony Davis in 2012 and Michigan’s Trey Burke in 2013. Davis’ team won the championship, Burke’s did not.

Duke is trying to win its fifth NCAA title and first since 2010, when it defeated Butler by two points in Indianapolis.


Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s fifth title, which would move him past Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp into solo second behind UCLA’s John Wooden, who won 10.

A Duke win would give Krzyzewski a winning record , 5-4, in championship games. He has title-game wins against Kansas, Michigan, Arizona and Butler, with title-game losses against Louisville, Nevada Las Vegas, Arkansas and Connecticut.


While the Wisconsin may have stunned Kentucky in order to reach the national championship game Monday, count Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski among those not entirely surprised.

“I wouldn’t have been surprised about them,” Krzyzewski told the Chicago Tribune. “I would be a little bit about us with all the young guys we had. I mean, we’re a young team.”

The Blue Devils actually beat the Badgers, 80-70, in December, but Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker was recovering from an ankle injury.


“We won the game, but I also knew that Wisconsin wasn’t their best,” Krzyzewski said.

Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan, who won three Division III national championship with Wisconsin-Platteville, noted a distinct difference between the DIII championship game and DI: the food.

“Training table meal was hot dogs,” Ryan said. “The morning of the game, I had a cream doughnut and a diet pop. Now we have the best French toast, pancakes, omelettes. I think we had one [reporter] from the Madison paper actually show up and cover the game. So you ask me what it was like. It wasn’t like this.”


Tonight’s NCAA title game is proof there are different roads to the top.

Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan and star player Frank Kaminsky are both veteran “grinders.”

Ryan, 67, spent his formative years coaching at Division III University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Wisconsin-Milwaukee before getting his shot at Wisconsin in 2001.

Kaminsky is a rarity in college basketball -- a star player who stayed around for his senior year.

Kaminsky wasn’t highly recruited out of high school and took time to develop.

Ryan said what he liked about Kaminsky is that “he loved playing the game. It seemed like it mattered to him whether he won a game or lost a game.”


Kaminsky eventually developed into this year’s national player of the year. He is a likely a first-round NBA pick, though probably not in the top 10.

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski and star Jahlil Okafor, by contrast, are part of a pedigree program. Krzyzewski has coached at Duke since 1980 and is already a member of the hall of fame (Bo Ryan is not). Coach K seeks his fifth NCAA title tonight. Okafor is a likely “one and done” freshman who could be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

Wisconsin does not have a freshman who will receive significant playing time.

Duke starts three freshmen.