INDIANAPOLIS (Sporting Alert) — Tyus Jones scored 23 points, including 19 in the second half and Duke rallied late to top Wisconsin, 68-63 and win the NCAA men’s 2015 basketball national title here at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Monday night.
Jones, who scored more than half the Blue Devils’ 37 points in the second half, shot 7-for-13 from the field and pulled down five rebounds in the win.
The Freshman was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
“It’s hard to put it into words. This is just such a special group. The best team I’ve ever been a part of. We’ve worked hard all year. This has been our one goal that we were working for,” Jones said.
“No matter if it was getting up extra shots or extra running, trying to get in better shape, tough practices, just believing in one another, believing in coach, everything they were telling us, because we knew at the end if we did accomplish this, it was all going to be worth it.”
Grayson Allen added 16 points off the bench and Justise Winslow finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for Duke (35-4), which was securing its fifth national crown and the first since 2010.
“They showed such grit tonight,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Our bench was spectacular, and like we said about two months ago, eight is enough. Eight is enough.”
Senior Frank Kaminsky scored 21 points and 12 rebounds for Wisconsin (36-4), which led 48-39 with 13:23 left in the game before Duke rises down the stretch to grab the national championship.
“It’s tough to say anything right now,” said Kaminsky. “These guys are my family, and I mean that literally. I don’t mean that hypothetically.
“I’ve never been closer to a group of guys in my entire life, from the coaching staff on down to every single player on this team.
“It’s just going to be hard to say good-bye.”
Nigel Hayes ended with 13 points and Sam Dekker had 12 points and eight boards for the Badgers, who had defeated the top-seeded Kentucky in the Final Four last Saturday.
Wisconsin finishes the season with a proud school-record of 36 wins.
“What a fantastic job these guys did all year,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “They just came together to do all the things that they accomplished.
“Highest offensive efficiency. A team that committed the least number of fouls during the year. A team that got to the free-throw line.
“So these guys played 30-some games that way. It’s just unfortunate that this one had to be played out that way.”
Bronson Koenig scored 10 points and four assists in the defeat for Wisconsin, which was also beaten by Duke in the other time these two teams met on Dec. 3.
With the victory, Krzyzewski moves above Adolph Rupp and took sole possession of the second spot on the all-time list behind John Wooden among the men’s coaches with his fifth championships title.
Duke also won national titles in 1991, 1992, 2001 and 2010.
Coach Krzyzewski felt this one was more fulfilling because he only had eight players, but he also believes every one of his championship teams are special.
“All of them are great (teams). The one you’re in this moment with is always the most current, you can feel it the best,” said coach K.
“I haven’t loved a team any more than I’ve loved this team. We have eight guys, and four of them are freshmen. For them to win 35 games and win the national title is incredible.
“When it’s over, and I would have the best appreciation because I’ve been in this for 40 years, and I’m the coach of that group that did this. You know, how good is that?
“They’ve been a joy. They’ve been an incredible joy. When you’re already happy, and you get happier, it’s pretty damn good. It’s pretty good.
As a team, the Blue Devils shot 47.1 percent from the field on 24-for-51 shooting, while Winslow collected three of the team’s six block shots.
Wisconsin, which was hoping to land its first title in 74 years, in the meantime, were 25-for-61 from the floor in shooting for 41.0 percent.
The score at half time was 31-31 before Duke outscored the Badgers 37-32 in the second stanza.