Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones come up big for Duke
Most expected Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow to be the keys to victory for Duke against Wisconsin on Monday night, but it was actually Tyus Jones and bench player Grayson Allen who delivered the most for the Blue Devils.
Jones led all scorers with 23 points coming on 7-for-13 shooting, including 2-of-3 on 3-pointers and 5-for-5 at the line. Jones buried a huge 3-pointer with around a minute and a half left to make it an 8-point contest 66-58.
He also made both of his free throws in the final minute to make it a two-possession game instead of a 3-point game. If he didn’t deliver in both of those spots, Wisconsin would have had a much better shot at making a last-minute comeback. With Okafor and Winslow facing foul trouble, Jones stepped up and had his biggest game of the tournament, posting 19 of his 23 points in the second half.
Likewise, Allen came out of nowhere and delivered for Duke.
Allen scored 16 off the bench — his highest point total in over a month — and played 21 minutes, which was the second-most he played all season. When Wisconsin took its biggest lead of the game — a 9-point advantage in the second half — it was Allen who responded and got them back into the contest. He scored eight straight points coming on a 3-pointer, layup and three free throws to keep them in the game. He also added another bucket with 5:29 left to give him 10 of his 16 points in the second half.
One thing Duke did extremely well that helped them win it all was make their free throws. They were 16-for-20 from the line, compared to 6-for-10 for Wisconsin. Jones and Allen made all of their free throws in the game.
We’re not big Duke fans around here, but we have to pay our respects to them on a successful championship season. Coach K deserves a tremendous amount of credit for what he has done throughout his career. He now has won five championships, reached 12 Final Fours, and he has won his titles almost 25 years apart. You can’t find much better proof of how much sustained excellence he has enjoyed and how well he has adapted to the changes in the sport than that. Congratulations to the Blue Devils on their title — they earned it.