Tyus Jones, Minnesota's Mr. Basketball winner last year, scored 22 points to lead the fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils to a 80-70 road victory over the No. 2-ranked Wisconsin Badgers Wednesday night in Madison, Wisconsin.
Jones hit back-to-back 3-pointers from the right wing late in the first half to enter the break with eight points. He scored 14 more in the second half to help Duke overcome early foul trouble from freshman center Jahlil Okafor and senior guard Quinn Cook. Jones added six rebounds and four assists.
Badgers seven-footer Frank Kaminsky and Okafor, both of whom were named preseason first-team All-Americans, were supposed to steal the show. But Jones upstaged them.
Myron Medcalf of ESPN.com wrote a great piece on the trust Duke players have for Jones. In a tense, late-game situations, players rely on Jones' leadership because he's cool, calm and collected.
“I think Tyus has played really well for us,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game, according to Yahoo Sports. “Jeff Capel said in the last 6-7 minutes ‘Let’s go to him.’ He just showed a lot of poise. “Having Quinn out there with him helps, too. Because they’re always a safe port there.”
"I'm more of a laid back guy," Jones said. "Jahlil (Okafor) will tell you that. I can't think of anything that really irks me."
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Jones has been a leader for a long time. He started playing varsity basketball at Apple Valley High School in the eighth grade. The natural point guard sounded like a veteran when he was asked what the win over the Badgers meant to him.
"This isn’t the NCAA championship," Jones said, via Sports Illustrated. "This is still a game in December. It was a good win for us. But we still have a lot of room to improve, and that’s what we’re going to try to do."
Rashad Vaughn injured
Jones, Rashad Vaughn (Robbinsdale Cooper) and Reid Travis (DeLaSalle) were Minnesota's "Big Three" recruits last year. Vaughn's hot start at UNLV hit a bump in the road Wednesday night when he injured his back in a loss to Arizona State.
Entering the game Vaughn was leading the Runnin' Rebels in scoring at 17.4 points per game. The initial diagnosis of his injury, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, is back spasms.