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Duke Wins Fifth National Championship

Freshman Tyus Jones helped Duke overcome foul trouble from Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow with 28 points to lead Duke to a championship.

Freshman Tyus Jones helped Duke overcome foul trouble from Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow with 23 points to lead Duke to a championship.

Duke did not have the best record in college basketball this year. They did not even win the ACC regular season title nor tournament championship. Yet, they were viewed as one of the very best teams in the country and proved exactly why on Monday night as they won the NCAA Championship.

For a fifth time under Mike Kryzewski, Duke cut down the nets at the end of the NCAA Tournament as they beat the Wisconsin Badgers, 68-63. And they did it with their freshman leading the way. Tyus Jones earned the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four award with a 23-point performance while Grayson Allen came off the bench for 16 points, coming at incredibly key moments.

In the second half, Duke found themselves in a tough spot, down by nine (48-39) with both Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow on the bench with four trouble. Wisconsin could have taken complete control of the game by Allen, who averaged only 4.0 points per game going into the game, made a huge three out of a Duke time out, stole the ball and finished the next possession with an old-fashion three-point play get get the Blue Devils back in. And following a three by Nigel Hayes he hit two more three throws.

Then Jones headed up even more than he already was, completing an old-fashioned three to make it a one-point game. With 4:09 remaining in the game, Jones gave Duke their first lead of the second half with a deep three.

Wisconsin picked a terrible time to go cold. They failed to score for for nearly three minutes following Jones’ big shot. They weren’t helped by a horrible call by the referees that gave Duke possession in the final two minutes. A three-minute stoppage in play occurred as the referees looked at a super-zoomed, frame-by-frame capture to see whether a ball last touched Winslow of Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig. Clearly, the ball last touched Winslow’s finger-tip, it was clear in real time, but the refs called it off Koening.

Duke used the possession to their advantage. Jones nailed a long three with 1:24 remaining to put Duke up by eight. There just wasn’t really enough time for a struggling Wisconsin offense to get back in the game.

But that bad call was not what cost Wisconsin. Even though Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky finished the game with 21 points and 12 rebounds, he wasn’t particularly great, shooting just 7-for-16 in the game. Sam Dekker has 12 points and eight rebounds, but off 6-for-15 shooting. They just weren’t efficient enough and and didn’t have the players step up in their place. Duke, on the other hand, got a huge boost from their guards with Okafor (10 points) and Winslow (11 points, 9 rebounds) having relatively disappointing outings.

Duke used their speed on the outside to overwhelm the Badger’s on the outside and had guys step up when they needed and that is why they are champions.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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