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Duke Wins NCAA Championship

Thousand of Cameron Crazies cheered on Duke Monday, beneath the banners representing the schools previous championships. A fifth title will be honored later this year.
Jeff Tiberii

Duke is again champion of the college basketball world. The Blue Devils topped Wisconsin 68-63 last night in Indianapolis, claiming the fifth men’s Division 1 basketball title in school history.

Millions of viewers around the world watched as two freshmen helped to further cement the legacy of Coach Mike Krzyzewski. A few thousand fans watched the come-from-behind victory together, in some familiar seats.

About 606 miles removed from the site of the actual Final Four, there were no coaches, players or whistles on the floor. There were, however, a few thousand Cameron Crazies in the building.

An aging video scoreboard served as the portal to Indianapolis. And Duke University students brought their typical frenzied, ear-piercing, passionate approach to the bleachers in Cameron. The Blue Devils trailed by nine points in the second half. But then, behind the guidance and timely shooting of freshmen starter Tyus Jones and reserve Grayson Allen, Duke overcame the deficit.

The final crescendo might have left you reaching for ear plugs, an Asprin – or both. Sophomores Madison Rogers and Keri Lynn were part of the blue mosh pit that erupted as the game ended.

"I basically almost peed my pants when I was jumping up and down!"

"This is so amazing. I can’t imagine."

The last time Duke won the National title was five year ago. Chris Perry was in school then. He was celebrating his 26th birthday and comparing championships, as he took in the post-game mayhem.

"It’s almost better… It’s almost better. I don’t think we were supposed to win this year. I love them so much," he said.

There was a range of loud noises and gyrations, as students went crowd-surfing and took selfies.

"We were crying a little bit. She made me cry and then I started crying. We’re seniors, this is it," said one fan.

This is the fifth national championship for Duke; all have come with Mike Krzyzewski as the head coach.

"How could there be a better way to win, then to play those last eight minutes with such grit and defense," Coach K asked, rhetorically.

This win pushes Kryzyewski past Adolph Rupp. The legendary Kentucky coach has four titles. Now, only the iconic John Wooden of UCLA has more titles than Coach K. Earlier this year he eclipsed the 1,000 win mark; and maintained then what mattered most were championships.  After the win last night, he was quick to credit point guard Tyus Jones who led all scorers with 23 points; as well as Grayson Allen, another freshman. He came off the bench and scored eight straight points during the Blue Devil comeback.

"Grayson Allen was literally spectacular. Spectacular. Just crazy good."

Allen finished with 16 points and likely a place in Duke lore. These Blue Devils have evened the all-time championship count with Carolina, at five. That will be just one of the things the Crazies will be screaming about, when they celebrate their champion basketball team at Cameron Indoor Tuesday afternoon.

Jeff Tiberii covers politics for WUNC. Before that, he served as the station's Greensboro Bureau Chief.
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