Duke vs. Wisconsin: Score, Twitter Reaction from 2015 NCAA Championship

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2015

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Duke secured its fifth national championship in program history with a 68-63 victory over Wisconsin.

The Blue Devils trailed by as many as nine points in the second half, but a late 10-0 run put them back in control and they were able to hit their shots down the stretch to earn the win.

Tyus Jones was the star of the day with 23 points, including 19 in the second half, on his way to being named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four:

Grayson Allen added 16 points in a surprise showing off the bench for a player who previously had just four double-digit scoring games all year. This was especially necessary with two of the team's top players struggling. ESPN's Chad Ford broke down the problem:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Duke are your 2015 national champions after beating Wisconsin 68-63! http://t.co/Yi3efwo90x

In a battle of two elite centers, Frank Kaminsky got the better of his counterpart with 21 points and 12 rebounds. On the other end, Jahlil Okafor dealt with foul trouble all night and and barely cracked double figures. ESPN's Jeff Borzello joked about the freshman's struggles:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Tyus Jones is the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. He scored 19 points in the second half (23 total) http://t.co/bJDrL1Zr6Z

Fortunately for Duke, he made big plays down the stretch while his teammates stepped up when it mattered most.

Wisconsin saw a lot of balance outside of Kaminsky, although a poor shooting performance from Sam Dekker (12 points on 6-of-15 from the field) hurt the offense.

A cold stretch in the second half ended up being the difference as the Badgers couldn't end their great season on a high note. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports also gave a lot of credit to the coaching:

Chad Ford @chadfordinsider

Duke wins despite subpar offensive games from their 2 best players & lottery picks Okafor 10 pts on 5-9 shooting Winslow 11 pts 3-9 shooting

After the two teams played to a 31-31 halftime tie, Wisconsin was the more aggressive squad to start the second half.

Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated discussed this mentality as the Badgers scored seven of the next nine points to take a five-point lead:

Jeff Borzello @jeffborzello

Who's out there dressed up as Jahlil Okafor tonight?

As Wisconsin built up a 48-39 lead, Seth Davis of CBS Sports crunched some contrasting offensive numbers after making a stark realization:

Dan Wetzel @DanWetzel

Hate on Krzyzewski all you want but he completely out coached Bo Ryan down the stretch.

Brian Hamilton @_Brian_Hamilton

Wisconsin: Tentative to start the first half, aggressive and confident to start the second. But the other guy can coach, too. Your move, K.

Still, Duke was clearly not going away. Allen became the surprise hero to keep the Blue Devils in the game with an impressive sequence, as ESPN's Dana O'Neil described:

Seth Davis @SethDavisHoops

Wisconsin is better. Duke can still win, but Wisconsin is better.

Jones also made some big shots to ensure a dramatic finish between the two teams.

Meanwhile, in the final moments, Duke was able to turn back to its best player as two Okafor baskets gave his team the advantage. Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports shared his thoughts:

Seth Davis @SethDavisHoops

Wisconsin started 7 for 20. Now 11 for their last 21.

After a questionable out-of-bounds call that went the Blue Devils' way, they were able to hit the necessary free throws to close out the win.

Just as many predicted, this game was great from the start as the first half lived up to its lofty expectations.

Wisconsin appeared to be in some trouble early thanks to some uncharacteristic mistakes and poor shooting. Jesse Temple of Fox Sports noted the Badgers' ball-control issues:

Dana O'Neil @DanaONeilWriter

The other freshman... Grayson Allen rallying Duke here. 3, steal, and one. Blue Devil scare eased.

Jerry Palm of CBS Sports put this in broader perspective:

Pat Forde @YahooForde

Jahlil Okafor has struggled vs. Tank, but two huge hoops put Duke in great position.

Considering the Badgers were the ones with the veteran roster, this was certainly surprising. ESPN's John Gasaway gave props to the Blue Devils defense:

Jesse Temple @jessetemple

Wisconsin has 3 turnovers in less than 9 minutes. This from a team that averages 7.5 per game. #Badgers look jittery at the start.

Still, Wisconsin didn't let the game get out of hand, tying the score and eventually turning it into an exciting early battle. Nicole Auerbach of USA Today summed up everyone's thoughts in the first half:

Jerry Palm @jppalmCBS

For the first time in this tournament, the Badgers look flustered.

As Hamilton noted, the teams went into halftime all knotted up despite Duke's best players dealing with foul trouble:

John Gasaway @JohnGasaway

Duke showing its great 2-point D in the tournament is legit. Wisconsin shooting 25% inside the arc.

Interestingly, the score at the break put this game among rare company in the record books:

Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach

The lead is changing basically every trip down the court. This is a fun one.

The second half was more of the same, as neither squad was able to build a commanding lead. Duke simply made the bigger shots in crunch time and ended up with the five-point victory.

After the game, Ryan was critical of both the refs, and Duke's one-and-done philosophy, per Jon Solomon of CBS Sports:

Brian Hamilton @_Brian_Hamilton

Duke tied at half sans Okafor and Winslow for a long stretch is a victory for Devils. Wisconsin might have found its offense, though.

David Worlock @DavidWorlock

This is the first time the national championship game has been tied at the half since Kansas and Oklahoma were knotted at 50 in 1988.

The win represents the fifth career championship for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, which puts him behind only John Wooden for the most all-time. There are many who will use this to quantify where the coach ranks on the list of the best ever.

Despite this historic mark, senior Quinn Cook reminded people before the game that it was about the players, via Aaron Beard of The Associated Press:

We obviously know what Coach has done and what this could do for Coach. But Coach has stressed all year that this is about this team. ...He's made his season about us, our moment. So obviously we want to get No. 5 for him, but we want to get No. 1 for ourselves as well. That's what he wants. He wants his first one with this group.

Of course, at this point, it doesn't matter much because the players and coaches can celebrate the championship together.  Krzyzewski had some serious praise for his team, per dukechronicle.com

Jon Solomon @JonSolomonAspen

Bo Ryan's turn to complain about officiating on CBS: "It's just a shame that it had to be played that way."

Now all fans can do is wait the seven long months until the start of next season. As for the teams, you can be certain the 350 programs that fell short of a title will work as hard as possible to better themselves in 2016.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.