We got a competitive national championship game, but not the one that we expected. In Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow, Duke has two players that are expected to go in the top 5 of the upcoming draft. But neither could stay out of foul trouble—they both finished the game with four—and seven minutes into the second half Duke found themselves down nine. Enter freshman Grayson Allen.
Allen has been near the end of the bench for most of the season, averaging fewer than ten minutes per game. But with Okafor and Winslow out of the game, Allen went off. In two minutes he racked up eight points—a three, a layup and-1, and two free throws—to bring Duke back into the ballgame. From then on it was the Tyus Jones show, as he scored 13 of Duke’s final 21 points, and Duke won 68-63.
Wisconsin will feel jobbed by a crucial late-game call that went against them. After Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig missed layup with just under two minutes left, a scramble for the rebound ensued. The referees determined that the ball last touched Koenig, but the replay review showed that Duke’s Winslow barely got a finger on it. Nevertheless, the referees determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call.
For his 23 points, five rebounds performance, Tyus Jones was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player, as Duke won their fifth national title under Mike Krzyzewski, and first since 2010.
Photo via David J. Phillip/AP