Duke 36 30 66
Arizona 33 39 72
Date of game: 11/29/2013

Recap: Arizona vs. Duke

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Nick Johnson scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half to lead fourth-ranked Arizona to a 72-66 victory over No. 6 Duke and claim the NIT Season Tip-Off championship.

The Wildcats (7-0) trailed 43-37 with under 14 minutes left before outscoring the Blue Devils by a 26-10 margin en route to their fourth all-time title at the prestigious early-season event.

Brandon Ashley added 13 points for Arizona and Kaleb Tarczewski, Aaron Gordon and T.J. McConnell all had 10 in a balanced offensive effort. The Wildcats' defense turned out to be the difference in this heavyweight matchup, however, limiting Duke (6-2) to a 35.7 field goal percentage over the final 20 minutes.

"We're an all-around team," Johnson said. "Really, you could see it in the box score. It was pretty even all the way around. We're a good team and we can play with anybody."

Heralded freshman Jabari Parker netted 19 points for the Blue Devils, but 11 of them came prior to halftime.

Rodney Hood led the Blue Devils, who are in the midst of their first November with more than one loss since 1999-00, with 21 points and eight rebounds. Quinn Cook finished with 13 points in the setback.

Both of Duke's defeats have come to top-five programs, with the Blue Devils previously falling to No. 2 Kansas in Chicago on Nov. 12.

"I thought we played winning basketball and they beat us with winning basketball," Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Johnson, who was named the tournament's MVP, put up five of his points during a 12-2 run that turned Arizona's 6-point deficit into a 49-45 lead with eight minutes remaining. The junior guard tied the contest with a 3-pointer with 11:07 to go, then followed an Ashley tip-in by driving the baseline and converting a layup to put the Wildcats up by four.

A 3-point play by Hood brought Duke within one, but Arizona countered with an 8-0 spurt to regain the momentum. Gordon was fouled while making a layup and sank the subsequent bonus attempt for a 54-48 lead, and Johnson buried another trey on the Wildcats's ensuing possession to create a 9-point spread with under 6 1/2 minutes to play.

"Nick's become that [go-to guy] for us," said Wildcats head coach Sean Miller. "He's taken big shots. He's made them. True go-to guys are the ones that dig their team out of a gutter or are able to put three or four bad plays behind them and make the next big play."

The Blue Devils were down by double-digits after Gordon fed Rondae Hollis- Jefferson for a dunk to make the score 61-51 with 3:58 left. Duke then used a 7-2 spurt to close within five, but got no closer as Arizona sealed the game with a 6-1 run that came entirely from the foul line.

Arizona shot 80 percent (21-of-26) from the charity stripe for the night.

Both teams executed well during an evenly played first half in which neither side led by more than five points. Parker threw down a dunk off a Tyler Thornton give to snap a 32-32 deadlock with 59 seconds remaining, and Thornton scored after Hollis-Jefferson hit 1-of-2 free throws to send Duke into the locker room holding a 36-33 edge.

Duke was able to lengthen the margin early in the second half, when a Rasheed Sulaimon jumper followed by a Cook 3-pointer staked the Blue Devils to a 43-37 advantage.

Game Notes

Arizona's four NIT Season Tip-Off titles are tied with Duke for the most since 1985 ... The Blue Devils had a 15-game win streak in this tournament halted, with their previous loss coming to Indiana on Nov. 29, 1996 ... The setback was also only Duke's third in its last 18 games held at Madison Square Garden ... Arizona took a 5-4 lead in the all-time series between these powerhouse programs, who last met in the West Regional Semifinal of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats prevailed in that one by a 93-77 count ... Arizona improved to 22-2 overall in this event.

Harvick claims Darlington pole

Kevin Harvick became the eighth different pole winner in as many Sprint Cup Series races this season after posting the fastest lap in the final round of Friday's knockout-style qualifying for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Extra Points: Easley puts himself back in the mix

There are plenty of boom-or-bust types in every draft, but perhaps none in the 2014 version poses a more interesting dilemma for NFL teams than former Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley.

Phillies and Braves to make up rainout on June 28

The postponed April 15 game between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies will be made up as part of a day- night doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, June 28.

Latest Sports Photos
Latest Sports Photos
0 Votes
a skydiver was injured when attempting to land in a pre game show at the Lookouts opening game on 4/3/2014

0 Votes
SEC Champions Alabama created by artist Ben Teeter S/N C.O.A. available for the dedicated Alabama fan!

1 Vote
first catch of the season looks like a good year

0 Votes
Gina McLeroy Spring City, TN

0 Votes
Our Son Brandon McLeroy MTSU Football 2011 Gina McLeroy Spring City TN

1 Vote
this is James Howard telling Gracie what to do.

0 Votes
Riverbend fun!

0 Votes
I nees a four letter word for the outside layer of a tree.

0 Votes
Cameron is a rising athlete. He has a God given talent for the game of football. This picture is of him stopping the ball carrier in our game in the ...

1 Vote
Our Lookout Valley 9/10 year old team went to a tournament in Knoxville called The Battle of the Rocky Top. They went throught the tournament undefeated and won the championship ...
Featured Partners
Experience Baylor summer camp - a 70 year tradition of summer fun and adventure. What are you waiting for? Make the most of summer by signing up today!
Get started at $79.99 a month for 12 months. Plus, get a $75 VISA® Prepaid card.
Register now for St. Nicholas summer camp whose mission & purpose is to provide a fun learning experience for children, developing physical, cultural, social and intellectual abilities.
Click here to enter for your chance to win a Bojangles Breakfast Combo. Then, watch WDEF News 12 This Morning for daily winner announcements!
Supermarket Guru
From The Archives
Scenic City Roots
Through Irish Eyes
Brand News
Prime Mashup
What's Trending
Stay Connected with WDEF News 12
Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital.