INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Duke certainly knows how to celebrate championships.
Especially in Indianapolis, where the Blue Devils have won three of their five titles.
When the clock struck zero, the kids from Durham stormed off their bench and onto the raised floor inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Players started donning black and blue T-shirts that read “National Champions,” and standout freshman Jahlil Okafor slipped on a black and gold championship hat — turned backward — as he clambered onto the stage and hugged his best friend, Tyus Jones.
Jones, who dominated Wisconsin when the teams met in December, spoiled the Badgers’ night again. He finished with 23 points and was voted Final Four most outstanding player.
“My teammates and the coaching staff, they’ve given me confidence,” Jones said as sprays of confetti covered the stage. “They believed in me and trusted in me all year. There wasn’t a moment they doubted me.”
Wisconsin players filed quietly off the floor and headed to the locker room, the goofballs from Madison having taken Badgers’ fan base on quite a ride.
The package deal has delivered Duke another national championship
Tyus Jones scored 23 points, his good buddy and freshman teammate Jahlil Okafor added a couple of key baskets in the closing minutes, and the Blue Devils beat Wisconsin 68-63 on Monday night to give coach Mike Krzyzewski his fifth national championship.
The Blue Devils took the lead for the first time since it was 29-28 on a 3-pointer by Grayson Allen, who came off the bench to score 16 points. After the Badgers regained the lead on back-to-back baskets by Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, the Blue Devils stormed away.
Jones started it with a basket, and Okafor — mired in foul trouble all game — returned to the floor to score the next two hoops. By the time Jones knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:10 to go, the Blue Devils had pushed their lead to 66-58 and the celebration was starting in the stands.
Wisconsin tried to foul its way back into the game in the final minute, but Jones added two more free throws with 34.9 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Jones and Okafor have known each other since playing for USA Basketball, and decided together to attend Duke. Their goal was to win a national championship — and now they have it.
Kaminsky, the AP player of the year, finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Badgers, seeking their first title since 1941. Dekker added 12 points and eight boards.