INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jalen Wilson and Dajuan Harris Jr. provided a calm, steadying influence for No. 6 Kansas on Tuesday night. Jayhawks freshman Gradey Dick provided the late splash.
Together they extended the nation’s longest active winning streak.
Wilson scored a career-high 25 points, Harris dished out a career-best 10 assists and Dick made three crucial baskets in the final 2 1/2 minutes to help the defending national champs rally past No. 7 Duke 69-64.
“We didn’t know where he was at times; we sent out a missing person’s report in the second half,” interim coach Norm Roberts joked, referring to Dick. “But this is his first real big-boy game he’s played in and I thought he really responded.”
Kansas is 3-0 with Roberts filling in for suspended coach Bill Self, who will sit out the first four games because of a 2017 infractions scandal. But the results remain unchanged as the Jayhawks ran their winning streak to 14.
Wilson also grabbed 11 rebounds on a night when shooting was at a premium.
Duke (2-1) was led by Kyle Filipowski, who scored a season-high 17 points and had 14 rebounds to become the first player in school history to register double-doubles in each of his first three games. Marvin Bagley III was the only other player to do it in his first two games.
Jeremy Roach had 16 points as new coach Jon Scheyer lost for the first time.
The young Blue Devils pushed Kansas to the brink in a game that went back and forth most of the second half. Duke just couldn’t finish it off.
“Before the game, we said that whoever handles the adversity better wins and I thought they did that late,” Scheyer said.
Still, the Blue Devils were in prime position when Filipowski’s putback with 4:39 left gave Duke a 59-54 lead.
But Kansas scored seven straight points to take a 61-59 lead on Dick’s 3-pointer with 2:21 to go. Roach answered with a 3 for Duke and then Dick scored on alley-oop play with 1:40 left to give Kansas a 63-62 edge.
The Jayhawks never trailed again, ending the game on a 15-5 run.
“ Those two guys, they never gave in,” Roberts said. “There was never any panic and that’s all led by Jalen and Dajuan.”
Duke: These Blue Devils don’t appear to be content taking a backseat to anybody. Despite a slow start and a poor finish, they traded jabs all night with a more experienced team. At times, they even looked more physical than Kansas — all promising signs for improvement.
Kansas: They’ve survived without Self — this time just barely. But the gritty Jayhawks played hard and fast and never got rattled, even when the execution wasn’t great or the shots didn’t fall. Even Roberts acknowledged sometimes winning ugly is what it takes.
Duke: The Blue Devils may slide a bit, but not much. Certainly not after this sort of performance just three games into a season with a first-year coach and three freshman starters.
Kansas: With No. 4 Kentucky losing earlier Tuesday and the Wildcats visiting No. 2 Gonzaga this weekend, the Jayhawks could move up a spot or two — depending on the results.
In a game of firsts, Scheyer thought his team played relatively well. It marked the first time Scheyer coached or Duke’s talented freshmen class played outside Cameron Indoor Stadium. It also was their first experience against a ranked team and their first close contest. And the double-overtime game between Michigan State and Kentucky in the opener Tuesday didn’t help much.
“We went out there three times to warm up,” Scheyer said. “It was the first time for a lot of different things.”
Duke: Heads home to face Delaware on Friday.
Kansas: Will host Southern Utah on Friday.