The Kansas Jayhawks are 3-0 to start the college basketball season after edging out the Duke Blue Devils 69-64 at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis Tuesday night.
KU started out well despite not shooting at an especially efficient clip, going up by as many as 11 points in the first half. The lead was trimmed to four at halftime, however, as Duke got hot and used its superior size and length to its advantage.
Most of the second half was controlled by the Blue Devils, although the shooting woes continued for both sides. The Jayhawks went down by six points multiple times in the second half, and they trailed by five points after a layup by Duke’s Kyle Filipowski with 4:37 left in the game.
From that point forward, Kansas flipped the script.
Six of the next eight combined field goals were scored by the Jayhawks, including multiple makes for freshman guard Gradey Dick. After a quiet start to the second half offensively and after spending plenty of time on the bench, Dick scored seven straight Jayhawks points with under two and a half minutes left. That included a three pointer, a dunk to finish a lob and an acrobatic layup.
For as good as Dick was down the stretch, junior forward Jalen Wilson made his own fair share of clutch plays. That included the jump shot that started KU’s game-ending 15-5 run, as well as a pair of free throws to put the game on ice.
Wilson finished with a career-high 25 points on 11-of-26 shooting, tacking on 11 rebounds for his second double-double already this year. His 26 shots were not just a career high, but it was also one of the highest marks by any KU player in the Bill Self era.
Dick dropped 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the Jayhawks’ victory, while senior guard Kevin McCullar also finished in double figures with 12. Junior guard Dajuan Harris scored just six points but set a new career high in assists with 10. He now has 23 assists this season and just two turnovers.
Filipowski led Duke with 17 points on 6-of-18 shooting, also grabbing 14 rebounds to record his third double-double in as many games this season.
KU shot the ball more efficiently than Duke overall but neither team was good from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks shot 46.3% from the field compared to just 35.8% for the Blue Devils. Kansas also held a slim advantage on three-point shooting but still shot just 15.8% from deep. Duke made just 14.% of its threes in the losing effort.
With the win, Kansas is also now tied with Duke for the best overall record in Champions Classic history at 7-5. Following Michigan State’s win over Kentucky on Tuesday, each of those programs is 5-7 overall through 12 years of the event.
The Jayhawks will return home on Friday for a meeting with the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, with tipoff scheduled for 7:00. That will also be the final game for KU without coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend, who will serve the final game of their self-imposed four-game suspension.
For more reaction to the Kansas Jayhawks’ 69-64 win over the Duke Blue Devils at the Champions Classic, check out Mic’d Up with Jake and Fulton from noon-3 p.m., and 580 Sports Talk with Brendan and Dan from 3-5 p.m. Wednesday on 580 WIBW.