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Duke beats Wisconsin for fifth national championship

INDIANAPOLIS - Duke freshman guard Tyus Jones scored 23 points, and the Blue Devils defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 68-63 to win the NCAA Tournament national championship game Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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Duke point guard Tyus Jones reacts after hitting a 3-pointer against Wisconsin in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament championship Monday. USA Today Sports

INDIANAPOLIS – Duke freshman guard Tyus Jones scored 23 points, and the Blue Devils defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 68-63 to win the NCAA Tournament national championship game Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski won his fifth national title to move ahead of Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp on the all-time list.

Jones, a graduate of Apple Valley (Minn.) High School, dropped in two free throws with 42.2 seconds left to extend Duke’s lead to five points. Blue Devils freshman forward Justise Winslow gathered Wisconsin guard Bronson Koenig’s missed 18-foot jumper with 14.9 seconds to set off the fireworks celebration.

Duke got 56 points from its guards, led by Jones’ production. Jones shot 7-for-7 from the free-throw line, and the Blue Devils were 16-for-20. Wisconsin finished 6-for-10 at the line.

In a matchup of All-Americans, Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor was schooled by Wisconsin senior forward Frank Kaminsky, who finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. However, the Freshman of the Year shrugged through a bear-hug foul for his fourth field goal of the game with 3:14 remaining and helped cause a shot-clock violation at the other end.

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Okafor came through again on the ensuing Duke possession, scrapping to reach Winslow’s missed right-handed try off glass, then score on the put-back to push Duke ahead 63-58.

Duke freshman guard Grayson Allen, averaging 4.2 points per game, had his shining moments in the second half while saving the Blue Devils repeatedly. He scored 16 points off the bench.

Kaminsky’s left-handed hook over Duke backup forward Amile Jefferson, who played big and largely effective minutes with Okafor on the bench, was the first make for Wisconsin in six tries and knotted the score at 56-all. Jones pulled up off a screen to push Duke back ahead 59-58 at the four-minute mark.

The Blue Devils survived Wisconsin’s onslaught while Okafor and Winslow sat on the bench with three fouls. Allen scored all eight of Duke’s points – including a 3-pointer and a three-point play – in a 1:06 stretch.

A red-clad partisan crowd erupted when Wisconsin pushed the lead to 48-39 with 13:17 left in the game. Kaminsky, entirely unchecked, laid in a freebie over the front of the rim on the inbound from under the Badgers’ goal.

Duke scored 20 points in the paint in the first 20 minutes, and the game was tied 31-31 at halftime.

Kaminsky had seven points, seven rebounds, a key block and a steal before the break, while Okafor had six points but picked up two fouls and missed chances to do more on both ends of the court.

Wisconsin missed 12 of its first 18 shots and appeared out of sorts against heavy man-to-man pressure from Duke. However, the Badgers clawed back behind a scrappy series from Kaminsky, who sparked a stretch of five field goals in six possessions, including a three-point play on Okafor’s second personal foul with 4:47 left in the first half that gave the Badgers a 26-25 lead.

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