Heartbreak in Indy: Badgers fall just short of the title; Duke 68, Wisconsin 63
(CNN) — Four fabulous freshman led Duke and Coach K to a fifth national title.
The Blue Devils won the NCAA men’s basketball championship in a thrilling title contest on Monday in Indianapolis, defeating a tough Wisconsin team 68-63.
Duke freshmen guards Tyus Jones and Grayson Allen led the Blue Devils with 23 and 16 points, respectively. National freshman of the year Jahlil Okafor had 10 points despite spending most of the second half on the bench. Duke’s fourth prized freshman Justise Winslow scored 11 points.
“They showed such grit tonight,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Jones had 19 points in the second half as the Blue Devil guards got more aggressive in driving to the basket. Duke ended up with 10 more points from the free throw line after Wisconsin only committed two fouls in the first half. With the Duke guards dribbling hard into the lane more, the Badgers had 13 second-half fouls.
The national title is the fifth for Krzyzewski, moving him ahead of the late Adolph Rupp into second place among Division I men’s coaches. It is also the fifth for the Duke program, tying it with Indiana and North Carolina for third most NCAA championships.
Wisconsin was sparked by national player of the year Frank Kaminsky, who scored 21 points and had 12 rebounds. Nigel Hayes chipped in 13 points while Sam Dekker added 12, but shot poorly from the field.
The first half was tight, though Duke briefly took a six-point lead midway through the period, before Wisconsin fought back. There were 13 lead changes in the first 20 minutes.
Wisconsin took a nine-point lead in the second half but missed most of its shots down the stretch while Jones and Allen brought Duke back.