INDIANAPOLIS — A riveting title game for the ages between two No. 1 seeds played out on Monday night inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
And the 2015 championship trophy goes to Duke with a 68-63 win over Wisconsin. It gives the program and its Hall-of-Fame coach, Mike Krzyzewski, five national titles.
The win puts Coach K at second all-time for most championships in men’s basketball; UCLA legend John Wooden holds the record with 10.
The heady play of freshman guard Tyus Jones, and his fellow freshman guard, Grayson Allen, keyed Duke to its comeback win. Jones had a game-high 23 points. Allen came out of nowhere, relatively speaking, to put up 16. The Blue Devils trailed by as many as nine points before storming back.
And two huge plays from Duke freshman big man Jahill Okafor got Duke from 59-58 to 63-58, giving the team separation it needed to avoid a threat from historically/offensively potent Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s senior center and national player of the year, Frank Kaminsky, led his team with 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Jones hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:20 left to put Duke up by eight. Kaminsky was able to keep Wisconsin in it after draining a trey on the next possession, cutting it to 66-61.
Duke was hampered by foul trouble throughout the second half for its two projected lottery picks; Okafor and Winslow each picked up three fouls with 13 minutes to go in the game. Okafor was harangued with his fourth with 9:18 left. It was just the fifth time this season Okafor carried four fouls, and two of those games game against Wisconsin.
The Badgers, who were the best in college basketball at not fouling, were called for 13 second-half fouls after being whistled just twice in the first 20 minutes. Tied at 31 at the half, with 13 lead changes. It was the first time since 1988 and fourth time ever the NCAA Tournament title game has been tied at halftime.
After chasing Wisconsin for 13 minutes in the second half, Duke tied it for the first time after the break, at 54, with 7:03 to go on a Jones jumper. Two possessions later, an Allen contested runner gave the Blue Devils the lead. Allen did not play in the team’s first meeting, on Dec. 3. He cracked double figures for just the fifth time this season.
Jones, who’s hit clutch shot after crazy shot this season for Duke, was the reason Duke won this game. The smallest player on the floor made the biggest difference and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.