Grayson Allen scored 29 points while Luke Kennard added 20 for the Blue Devils (22-9, 11-7), who have the No. 5 seed in the league tournament. They gave themselves a chance to win by hitting 13 3-pointers.
"That's what we do -- 3s and free throws are kind of how we have to score,'' coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We've got to do what we have to do, and it's won 22 games, it's made us a very good and tough team."
Allen and Kennard hit them in the final 20 seconds, with Kennard's making it 72-70 with 9.3 seconds left.
Though the Blue Devils come up short in the 76-72 loss, they look like they've worked themselves into
In another epic battle -- North Carolina rebounded from a loss to Duke earlier this season in the Dean Dome, with a 76-72 win which clinched the ACC regular season championship.
Brice Johnson had 18 points and 21 boards, and the eighth-ranked Tar Heels dominated the glass and lock up the top seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
North Carolina never trailed and rode its inside game, building a 64-29 rebounding advantage while outscoring Duke 42-20 in the paint.
Kennedy Meeks added 12 points and 14 rebounds, Joel Berry II scored seven of his 12 in the final 5 minutes and Paige hit four free throws in the final 10 seconds to help the Tar Heels (25-6, 14-4) earn their first win on Duke's floor since 2012.
Grayson Allen scored 29 points while Luke Kennard added 20 for the Blue Devils (22-9, 11-7), who have the No. 5 seed in the league tournament.
Allen and Kennard hit them in the final 20 seconds, with Kennard's making it 72-70 with 9.3 seconds left.
Paige hit two free throws with 8.8 seconds left. After Marshall Plumlee dunked home Allen's missed layup with 2.8 seconds left to make it 74-72, Paige iced it with two more foul shots with 1.5 seconds.
Justin Jackson added 13 points and Paige finished with 11 for the Tar Heels, who earned just their second victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium since the Tyler Hansbrough-Danny Green-led group went 4-for-4 here from 2006-09, and their first since 2012.
President Obama did not pick the Duke Blue Devils to win the 2015 NCAA Mens National Championship -- but he did call to congratulate the team and invite them to the White House. See the video and Coach K telling the team and the fans about the conversation with the President below.
Over a matter of mere minutes, the youngsters at Duke grew into salty old pros.
Call them freshmen. But please, do not call them kids.
Led by Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, Duke's talented group of potential one-and-doners played like veterans down the stretch, outscoring Wisconsin by 14 points over the final 13 minutes Monday night to grit out a 68-63 victory for the program's fifth national title.
"It shows a lot about their confidence," said Quinn Cook, Duke's only senior starter.
Okafor, the likely first pick in the NBA draft if he decides to leave, got outplayed by Badgers senior center Frank Kaminsky most of the night but came through big when the pressure was highest.
The 6-foot-11 freshman made two straight buckets over Kaminsky, sandwiched between a pair of 3-pointers from Jones, to help the Blue Devils (35-4) turn a one-time nine-point deficit into an eight-point lead with 1:22 left.
A furious Wisconsin rally ensued, but it came up short. Then, it was Okafor on the bottom of a rowdy dog pile, a scene reminiscent of the last time the Final Four was Indianapolis, back in 2010 when Duke edged out Butler in another scintillating final. The Blue Devils also took one here in 1991 -- the Grant Hill, Christian Laettner squad.
"It was heaven," coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the stadium where he's now 4-0 in Final Fours. "It was really divine."
Krzyzewski now has five titles, alone in second place on the all-time list, behind only John Wooden.
Coach K did it with a collection of All-Americans -- many of whom won't be around too long.
Okafor, his buddy Jones -- who finished with 23 points and was named MOP -- and another freshman, Justise Winslow, might all be playing at an NBA arena near you next season.
Grayson Allen? He'll be back.
The most overlooked of Krzyzewski's first-year players stepped up with Okafor on the bench in foul trouble for much of the second half. Allen, the slam-dunk champion at the high school McDonald's All-American contest last year, scored 16 points -- 12 more than his average -- including eight straight for Duke after Wisconsin (36-4) had gone up by nine.
"It was fun to watch my teammates do what they do," Okafor said. "They have my back the entire season, and it was no different tonight."
This was a savvy, calm, collected comeback against the team that wrote the book on that all season. Wisconsin kept its cool two nights earlier in an upset over undefeated Kentucky and looked like it would close the deal when it turned a 31-all halftime tie into a 48-39 lead after Kaminsky made a layup with 13:23 left.
Then, suddenly, Duke looked like veterans and Wisconsin looked like kids.
The Blue Devils took the lead for good with 4:08 left when Jones made a 3, then fell hard to the ground while tangled up with Bronson Koenig.
On Duke's next possession, Kaminsky tried to wrap an arm around Okafor in the paint, but the big fella powered his way through it for the bucket and the foul. He missed the free throw, but a different point was made: Kaminsky had 21 points and 12 rebounds to Okafor's 10 and three, yet down the stretch, "Frank the Tank" struggled to get a good look and Okafor helped win the game.
"He got in some foul trouble, but because of his positive attitude, he made some big plays down the stretch," Jones said.
In the seconds leading to Okafor's first basket, Winslow appeared to step on the baseline. But the whistle never blew, and he delivered it to Okafor for the score.
That, and the foul count, had the Wisconsin Twitterverse fuming about some calls. The Badgers got whistled for only two fouls in the first half, but the count in the second half was Badgers 13, Blue Devils 6. Duke shot 20 free throws to Wisconsin's 10.
"There was more body contact in this game than any game we played all year, and I just feel sorry for my guys that all of the sudden a game was like that," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said.
Even though Kaminsky schooled Okafor to draw both his third and fourth fouls early in the second half, Wisconsin couldn't pull away from an aggressive Duke defense that allowed only 55 points a game in the five contests leading to the final.
Wisconsin shot 41 percent -- seven percentage points under its season average.
"Shots just weren't falling, and they were getting to the line, and when the tide changes like that, it's kind of hard to get back in the flow," Badgers forward Sam Dekker said.
Nigel Hayes had 13 points, and Dekker, the key guy down the stretch against Kentucky, had a very quiet 12 for the Badgers, who were trying to bring their first title back to Madison since 1941. Dekker used his shirt to dab away tears during postgame interviews -- a much different scene than the loose, fun-loving media sessions the Badgers put on all tournament.
For Duke, it was all smiles. The Blue Devils are taking another trophy home to the Cameron Crazies.
"All these guys have become students of the game, and they share knowledge," Krzyzewski said.
This was not a dominant, wire-to-wire effort the likes of which some of the Duke title teams have enjoyed in seasons past.
Kentucky and its quest for perfection stole the headlines this season. So, playing in relative shadows down on Tobacco Road was this group, which actually might have more one-and-dones than coach John Calipari does at Kentucky. Calipari was in the building, by the way -- honored for his induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame. He got booed heavily.
In the end, it was all confetti and cheers. And it's not Calipari's team, but Krzyzewski's, that will end up in the history books.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Duke languished in the shadows of Kentucky all season, the big blue juggernaut that nobody seemed to be talking about. It was a rarity for a program with such a championship pedigree, not to mention a record-setting coach and superstar freshmen.
They can thank Wisconsin for finally returning to the limelight.
The fun-loving Badgers ended the Wildcats' pursuit of perfection in the national semifinals, and set up an intriguing showdown in Monday night's title game: Duke trying to give Mike Krzyzewski his fifth national championship, Wisconsin trying to capture its first in 74 years.
"I don't think basketball fans that I know would ever say that Duke didn't have a good team," countered Badgers coach Bo Ryan, who won four Division III titles at Wisconsin-Platteville.
"A lot of people thought they had a pretty good team because they spanked our team at our place in December," he said. "I can't say that they were ignored, that's for sure."
Yet the buzz at the Final Four this week was focused on Kentucky. The only folks giving the Badgers much of a chance were wearing red and white and scarfing down cheese.
Along with the coach in the other locker room.
"Coming into the year, I thought they'd be the best team in the country, and they have been," Krzyzewski said. "It's just that Kentucky's undefeated performance has overshadowed just how good Wisconsin has been, until (Saturday) night. There aren't any shadows anymore."
The Blue Devils (34-4) have run roughshod through the NCAA Tournament, relying on suffocating defense and game-changing freshman Jahlil Okafor to shut down opponents. They're allowing just 55 points per game, one of the finest defensive performances in tournament history.
Meanwhile, Okafor and his merry band of freshmen -- Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones and Grayson Allen -- have risen to the challenge of the game's biggest stage. The four led the way in a semifinal blowout of Michigan State, a game never in question after the first 5 minutes.
"We want to be one of those teams that coach is bragging about five, seven years later," senior guard Quinn Cook said. "So that's the motivation for us, to be special."
As if they needed any more motivation, Krzyzewski has been waving his 2010 title ring in their faces all tournament. He earned it in Indianapolis, in the same building as this year's Final Four, and steps away from where he won his first championship at the Hoosier Dome in 1991.
"That's what we want to get," Okafor said, glancing at the glittering ring on Coach K's hand. "We've always talked about us having an opportunity to have a national championship ring."
The loveable goofballs from Wisconsin (36-3) are standing in their way, and nobody can argue they haven't earned the right. Only three other teams have faced the highest possible seed in every game on the way to the championship since the field expanded to 64 in 1985.
Two of those lost in the title game. None had to face another No. 1 seed.
"They know they have a chance to make a mark in history. They understand that," Ryan said Sunday. "But they're enjoying it while they do it, and that's important, too."
Indeed, the Badgers have become the clown princes of the NCAA Tournament. From messing with stenographers to podium hijinks, to their penchant for playing Super Smash Bros., the free-spirited Big Ten champs have taken an entire fan base -- and plenty of casual fans -- on quite ride.
"That's just how we are," explained the Badgers' Sam Dekker. "Some people tell us on Twitter, `Focus, guys!' But that's just us. We know when to focus."
Or, as teammate Nigel Hayes put it, "We don't try to be ourselves. We just ARE ourselves."
What they are is an offensive powerhouse led by AP player of the year Frank Kaminsky that is averaging nearly 80 points in the tournament. They're a veteran group that's been through the grind. They're the counter argument to all those critics that argue the college game has fallen off, that scoring is down, execution is sloppy and the product has never been worse.
They're also the team that has already avenged a heartbreaking loss to Kentucky in last year's national semifinals, and is now one step away from its first championship since 1941.
"Whatever this team accomplishes Monday night, one way or the other, it's still who they are," Ryan said. "I've never been concerned if there are people that perceive us a different way, because we are who we are. We play the way we play. We're sure happy with it. So we can live with that."
If you could pick your All-Time Duke Blue Devils starting 5, to take on any collegiate All-Time team -- Who would be on it?
Here is my All-Time 5:
Point Guard - Jason Williams
In my oppinion Jason Williams has easily been the most explosive and physical point guard that Duke has had ever. He could score, defend and shoot the three. Imagine him running the pick and roll with Christian Laettner or Okafor at the high post, kicking the ball out to JJ Reddick or Grant Hill on the wings. The thought just makes me want to pull my pants down.
Shooting Gaurd - JJ Reddick
Reddick was an unconscious three-point sniper for the Blue Devils. All I see is JJ pulling up from 22 feet and in my mind I'm shouting "Lay-Up". In this line up you would have to sag off him because the others on this roster will kill you penetrating. JJ would have open look after open look and just when you thought you would run out hard on him -- he's athletic enough to blow by a defender and dunk the ball.
Grant Hill is probably the most talented of this crew. Sick athleticism, skilled enough to play all 5 positions on the court, a gazelle on the fast break, 3-point range on the jump-shot and frankly not guardable one-on-one. To put the cherry on top for Grant, he could take the opponents best player out of the game on the defensive end.
Power Forward - Christian Laettner
Every championship team has to have the one guy who is just nasty. Laettner is this guy, but typically that guy has a very limited skill set. This is where Laettner sets himself apart, at 6'11 can shoot from 3-point range, put the ball on the floor on the perimeter, fill the lane on the break and defend. Laettner is that "I don't give a Sh$t who's on the other team" guy. The guy who will have sex with his best friends mom and tell him "Bro, I just had sex with your mom", and not mean it in the a negative way -- it's just that "may as well be me, than some other jerk". This guy is on my team every day.
Center - Jahlil Okafor
Okafor is just one of those generational players. The opposing coach thoughs his hands up and says "OK, we're going to stop everyone else because I don't have a clue and we don't have anyone who can match up with Okafor". Okafor and Jason Williams on the high pick and roll would be deadly. I would just spead the court feed him on the box and just count the bucket.
Use the comment's box below to give your All-Time Duke Starting 5 to take on all comers.
Duke beat Virginia Tech 66-48 as Rodney Hood dropped 21 points as No. 6 Duke seems to be getting stronger moving toward the ACC Tournament.
Rasheed Sulaimon added 15 points for the Blue Devils (23-6, 12-4 ACC). The Blue Devils jumped on the Hokies early and led 24-4 to start the game. The last place Hokies faught back to get the game to single digits, but Duke who looked disinterested put their foot back on the gas and finished the job.