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Duke Claims 2015 NCAA Title Over Wisconsin

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Three reasons why the Blue Devils were able to take down the Badgers.

Duke Claims 2015 NCAA Title Over Wisconsin

Last night, the Duke Blue Devils took home their fifth NCAA Championship in school history with a 68-63 win over the Wisconsin Badgers. Here are three reasons why the Blue Devils wound up cutting down the nets in Indianapolis.

Tyus Jones Takeover

When Duke needed a playmaker in the second half, Tyus Jones stepped up. Duke's freshman point guard scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, and he went on individual runs that kept the Blue Devils in it and helped them pull away. When Wisconsin jumped out to a five-point advantage early in the second frame, Jones scored six straight for Duke to keep them close. His three-pointer with just over 90 seconds left proved to be the dagger, and Jones was a very deserving Final Four Most Outstanding Player. If that is indeed Jones' last collegiate game, it's quite a way to go out.

Grayson Allen Comes Up Huge

The least heralded freshman of Duke's vaunted class probably played the most important role for the Blue Devils in his support of Jones. On the season, Allen averaged just over nine minutes a game and four points on the season. He played just 22 minutes total in Duke's three games leading up to the Final Four, but he put in 21 huge minutes and helped spark Duke's offense. Allen scored 16 points, including 10 in the second half (eight of which he scored on his own stretch) to help keep the offense afloat. Allen also contributed two rebounds, a steal, and made all five of his free throws.  

Wisconsin Can't Pull Away

There was a key stretch late in the first half that Wisconsin really let get away from them. With 4:47 remaining, Jahlil Okafor picked up his second foul and had to sit for the rest of the half. Both Okafor and Justise Winslow now had two fouls, and after Frank Kaminsky hit the free throw, Wisconsin had a 24-23 lead. This was a perfect opportunity for the Badgers to stretch the lead out before halftime and apply some pressure, but instead, the two teams entered halftime tied at 31. Duke's zone kept Wisconsin out of rhythm, and players settled for uncharacteristic threes instead of trying to find a mismatch with Kaminsky. The Badgers couldn't take advantage, and it's a stretch of the game that ended up coming back to bite them when all was said and done.

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