The Jabari Parker/Andrew Wiggins match we eagerly wanted hit a snag, because eight other players just had to also play on the court. Wiggins and Parker each had their moments in the Jayhawks' 94-83 over the Blue Devils.
Really though, tonight's real star for Kansas was Perry Ellis, who led the Jayhawks with 24 points, along with seven boards. But Wiggins was excellent, too. Just not in the first half. He played only nine minutes after earning two fouls quickly, entering halftime with a mere six points. Maple Jordan, my ass.
Meanwhile, Parker was leading his team with 19 of Duke's 42 points the half, two of them coming from a layup in traffic that Parker adeptly kissed off of the glass with Jayhawks' arms outstretched in front of him. He was carrying his team and providing highlights, too. Early in the second half, Parker reeled in a seemingly inaccurate dish from Quinn Cook and turned it into an astounding one-handed dunk.
When Wiggins came back in the second half, however, he started to gain some steam. After the Jayhawks fell behind 56-51—really, it was a tight game until the end—Wiggins punctuated a 10-4 Kansas run by catching Ellis's pass in transition and slamming down an easy, uncontested dunk to give the Jayhawks a 61-60 lead.
Wiggins already had four fouls with 7:20 left, but Parker fouled out. His fifth foul actually came against Wiggins, as Parker tried (and failed) to stop another Wiggins dunk in transition. That bucket gave Kansas an 87-81 lead with roughly minute left, enough to seal the win.
We didn't get the dramatic showdown we envisioned, because exempting fouls, Kansas and Duke are two well-built programs full of talent. Wiggins wasn't the leading scorer on his team, and four of Parker's teammates had double-digit point totals. The only accurate takeaway from this one game: Wiggins and Parker are both going to be fun as hell to watch.
Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP