Duke vs Kansas score, takeaways: Jalen Wilson leads Jayhawks final rally against Blue Devils in Champions Classic

The first game of the 2022-23 college basketball season played between the top 10 teams unfolded in thrilling fashion Tuesday night as No. 6 Kansas outlasted No. 7 Duke 69-64 in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis. The Jayhawks were without coach Bill Self, who was serving Game 3 of a self-imposed four-game suspension in response to alleged NCAA violations.

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

His dipping, twisting layup with 1:04 left gave the Jayhawks a 65-62 lead, as they recovered from a six-point deficit late in the second period. Dick had been scoreless through halftime until his late finishing 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 scorer returning after losses to stars such as 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 by 11 points early on but settled as the game progressed with freshman forward Kyle Filipowski standing out for his second-half aggression. Filipowski led the Blue Devils with 17 points and 14 rebounds but was just 6 of 18 from the floor. Jeremy Roach added 16 points for Duke.

Both teams plagued by poor shots

Duke had hit a respectable 34% of its 3-point attempts in two games on Tuesday, but the Blue Devils cooled off beyond the arc against Kansas. Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor were each 1 of 5 from deep, and Filipowski was 1 of 6 while Jaylen Blakes and Jacob Grandison combined to go 0 of 5.

Kansas wasn’t much better as the Jayhawks only made 3 of 19 3-point attempts, but KU had more success attacking the rim. Overall, Kansas shot 46.3 percent from the floor to Duke’s 35.8 percent. Undersized big man KJ Adams Jr. quietly made 4 of 4 attempts from the field without being the center of KU’s attack. His task against the much larger Duke bigs was unenviable, but he handled it well enough to allow the Jayhawks to capitalize in other ways.

Kansas shows its wings

How KU capitalized on the aggression of his versatile wing body. Wilson got into the lane against everyone guarding him and Dick was able to pull away in key moments. Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar also provided a big boost in the first half, especially early on when he often found himself guarded by 7-footer Filipowski. McCullar scored eight of his 12 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. Although only three games into his career, Dick looks capable of playing a similar role to what Christian Braun played for the Jayhawks en route to a national title last season. Although replacing Ochai Agbaji is going to be a bit more difficult, it’s clear that KU have the perimeter weapons to be a showdown nightmare once again.

Key players missing

Neither team had their full roster available. One of Duke’s five-star freshmen, versatile winger Dariq Whitehead, is yet to make his debut as he recovers from foot surgery in the offseason. The 6-6 wing would have given Duke another versatile defender to deploy against Wilson and Dick.

Kansas was also without two players. First-year goaltender MJ Rice (illness) and second-year 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 a few minutes in the front court.

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