Wednesday, December 3, 2014

#4 Duke Wins Battle of the Bigs Over #2 Wisconsin

Duke Freshman Jahlil Okafor Lays The Ball
In Over Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky
All week College Basketball talk was dominated by this battle of the bigs, Jahlil Okafor vs. Frank Kaminsky.  Okafor is expected to be the first pick in this year's upcoming NBA Draft, and Kaminsky is regarded as the top big man in college basketball.  But wait, it gets better.  Okafor plays for #4 Duke and Kaminsky for #2 Wisconsin.  Even before the opening tip this game was slated to be spectacular.

Right out of the gate the bigs started battling.  After the first 5 minutes it was 6-2 Wisconsin.  Well 6-2 Kaminsky over Okafor.

In these opening minutes Duke's offense looked hesitant as they were not getting into their sets.  On the defensive end their rotations and transition defense were off too.

Then all of the sudden a change came for Duke.  They ramped up their defense and took control of the game.  This run was started off by Justise Winslow diving on the floor for a loose ball which led to a monstrous slam by Marshal Plumlee.

Towards the end of the half Okafor had picked up 2 fouls and Kaminsky took a shot to the groin, so they were both on the bench.  This was when Tyus Jones started to take over.

Duke went into the locker room at halftime up 35-32.

As soon as the ball was given to Duke to start the second half Tyus Jones carried over his momentum from the first half.  He started to attack the basket and draw fouls time after time.  With 13:47 left in the second half Jones already had 16 points and led Duke to a 48-43 lead over Wisconsin.

With 5 minutes left in the game Wisconsin was within three points and Jahlil Okafor was just sent to the bench with 4 fouls.  So Wisconsin went on a run to win the game right?  Nope, Duke the team who lost their best player went on a 9-0 run and took control of the game for good.  During this stretch Frank Kaminsky turned the ball over, missed an easy lay-up, and was called for goaltending.  Towards the end of the game he just seemed to be exhausted.

Duke wound up winning the game 80-70 over the second ranked Badgers.

So who won the battle of the bigs?  Can Tyus Jones win this award? He deserves it after stealing the spotlight from the big men.  Jones finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and only 1 turnover.

The real battle of the bigs was won by Kaminsky.  The Wisconsin big man finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds.  On the other hand, Okafor finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds.

Although many expected Wisconsin to win the game, Duke proved all of them wrong.  Freshman Tyus Jones was not phased by the atmosphere of playing on the road for the first time in his college career, and played a huge game.  Overall, Duke's depth prevailed over Wisconsin.  With their win Duke is now 8-0 and Wisconsin now falls to 7-1.  Before the night even started everyone expected a spectacular game.  Tonight was nothing short and proved to be one of the best games of the young college season.

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