INDIANAPOLIS – When Jahlil Okafor went down with foul trouble, his buddy, Tyus Jones, was there to pick up Duke.
Jones, the star Duke freshman from Apple Valley who can get a little overlooked in the long shadows of fellow rookies Okafor and Justise Winslow, rose to the biggest occasion Monday night as the Blue Devils beat Wisconsin 68-63 to win the NCAA championship.
Jones scored 23 points, including a straight-on three-pointers with 4 minutes, 9 seconds left that gave Duke the lead for good, and was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player.
"My teammates and the coaching staff, they've given me confidence," Jones said as sprays of confetti covered the stage. "They believed in me and trusted in me all year. There wasn't a moment they doubted me."
With Okafor hampered by foul trouble all game and limited to 10 points, it was Jones who stood tallest in the biggest moments for Duke.
Coach K among elite
Coach K won his fifth national championship Monday night with a 68-63 victory over Wisconsin. Only John Wooden, who won an incredible 10 at UCLA, is above Krzyzewski on the list of champions.
When the buzzer sounded and No. 5 was official, Krzyzewski turned toward his bench with his hands high above his head. Then came the rush of assistant coaches for a group hug that included jumping up and down just like the players he led to a 35-4 record.
All those noisy Cameron Crazies got to celebrate one more win at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium.
About 5,000 students flocked to the Blue Devils' famously loud arena Monday night to watch their school beat Wisconsin.
After the final horn, Duke sophomore Zach Gorwitz wore a Shane Battier jersey while running up the bleachers.
He held his fists skyward and let out a scream. He calls it "unbelievable" and "history" and says "it's a blessing ... to be a part of it."
One empty seat
Lucas Oil Stadium was packed to the rafters, but there was at least one empty seat.
In Section 40, Row A, seat No. 13 has been left empty. The ticket next to the son of Indiana coach Tom Crean was purchased by North Carolina coach Roy Williams and donated in memory of Butch Ryan, the late father of Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan.
Butch Ryan, who helped teach his son the game, passed away in August 2013.