Duke vs. Kansas score, takeaways: Jalen Wilson leads Jayhawks’ late rally vs. Blue Devils in Champions Classic

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Played between top-10 teams, the first game of the 2022-2023 college basketball season paid off in captivating fashion on Tuesday night, as No. 6 Kansas outlasted No. 7 Duke 69-64 at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis. The Jayhawks were without coach Bill Self, who was serving the third game of a four-game self-imposed suspension in response to alleged NCAA infractions.

But even without Self and some key players from last season’s national title team, the Jayhawks once again looked like a national contender. Kansas freshman Gradey Dick came alive in crunch time for three clutch buckets in the final two and a half minutes, two of which gave the Jayhawks the lead.

His diving, spinning layup with 1:04 left gave the Jayhawks a 65–62 lead, who rallied from a six-point deficit late in the second half. Dick had been scoreless throughout the half until his late finish flurry, but finished with 14 points for the game.

For most of the second half, the Jayhawks essentially force-fed junior wing Jalen Wilson, who is the leading returning scorer after losing to stars like Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun in the NBA Draft. Wilson finished with a game-high 25 points and helped the Jayhawks weather a storm in the second half.

Duke trailed early by 11 points, but settled down as the game went on with freshman forward Kyle Filipowski standing out for his aggression in the second half. Filipowski led the Blue Devils with 17 points and 14 rebounds, but was only 6-of-18 off the floor. Jeremy Roach added 16 points for Duke.

Both teams were plagued by poor shooting

Duke had scored a respectable 34% on his 3-point attempts during two games starting Tuesday, but the Blue Devils went cold from outside the arc against Kansas. Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor were each 1 for 5 from deep, and Filipowski was 1 of 6 while Jaylen Blakes and Jacob Grandison went 0 of 5 combined.

Kansas wasn’t much better, as the Jayhawks hit just 3 of 19 attempts from 3-point range, but KU had more success attacking from the rim. Overall, Kansas shot 46.3% from the floor, compared to 35.8% for Duke. Undersized Big Man KJ Adams Jr. quietly made 4 out of 4 attempts from the field without being a focal point of KU’s attack. His job against Duke’s much bigger bigs was unenviable, but he did it well enough to let the Jayhawks capitalize in other ways.

Kansas shows off its wings

How KU capitalized was through the aggression of its versatile corps of wings. Wilson made it to the track against everyone guarding him and Dick managed to break free in key moments. Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar also provided a big lift in the first half, especially early on when he was often guarded by Filipowski, a 7-footer. McCullar scored eight of his twelve points in the first half. He had six early as the Jayhawks opened up a 17–6 lead in less than seven minutes.

The size and versatility of the Wilson-Dick-McCullar trio stood out for Kansas. Though only three games into his career, Dick looks capable of playing a similar role to the one Christian Braun played last season for the Jayhawks on their way to a national title. While replacing Ochai Agbaji will be a bit more difficult, it’s clear that KU has the perimeter weapons it needs to become another matchup nightmare.

Key players are missing from action

Neither team had the full roster available. One of Duke’s five-star freshmen, versatile winger Dariq Whitehead, has yet to make his debut while recovering from off-season foot surgery. The 6-6 wing would have given Duke another versatile defender to use against Wilson and Dick.

However, Kansas was also without two players. Freshman guard MJ Rice (illness) and sophomore Zach Clemence (injury) were unavailable. Rice is a McDonald’s All-American who played a major role off the bench last week, and Clemence is a sophomore who fights for minutes in the front court.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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