MADISON, Wisconsin — Wisconsin senior Frank Kaminsky lost the ball under the basket and bent over in frustration. At the other end, Duke freshman Tyus Jones rushed up the floor for an easy transition layup.
The veterans from the second-ranked Badgers lost to the young, fourth-ranked Blue Devils 80-70 on Wednesday night. Maybe these two college basketball heavyweights will meet again in March.
Traevon Jackson scored a career-high 25 points for Wisconsin, which allowed Duke to shoot 65 percent, a Kohl Center record.
But there was no panic on coach Bo Ryan's seasoned team afterward — just a determination to get better.
"It was a great test and a really good Duke team. Just learn from it," Jackson said, "and the biggest thing is just make sure it doesn't happen again."
Jones scored 22 points and junior Rasheed Sulaimon added 14 for the Blue Devils.
With 17 points, Kaminsky outscored Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor (13 points) in a test for two of the nation's top big men.
But it was another touted freshman, Jones, who helped open things up for the Blue Devils (8-0) in the second half. The lightning-quick guard beat defenders into the lane and added two 3-pointers.
Jones followed the transition bucket with an assist on junior Amile Jefferson's jumper to cap a 6-0 run that gave Duke a 69-60 lead with about 3 minutes left against the Badgers (7-1).
"When those freshmen see that the upperclassmen are setting the table for them, it helps a lot," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They didn't look like freshmen tonight."
Off an inbounds play, freshman Justise Winslow's dunk after strolling uncontested down the lane seemed to demoralize the Badgers one last time as Duke took an eight-point lead with about 1:20 left.
It was a thunderous end to a December game that had the tense feel of March. The showcase of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge could also prove to be a Final Four preview.
"Yeah I would say they hit some tough shots ... but to have that many do it, that's just not fair," Ryan deadpanned. "They were lights out."
Duke led much of the way, but never comfortably at the raucous Kohl Center.
Jackson was a big reason why. The senior guard was often the Badgers' best option at breaking down Duke's in-your-face defense.
Jones was even better on the other end. He finished 7 of 11 from the field, adding four assists.
Duke improved to 25-13 against top-5 teams under Krzyzewski. The Badgers had their 23-game nonconference winning streak snapped, losing in the regular season outside the Big Ten for the first time since a 60-50 defeat at Marquette on Dec. 8, 2012.
"It's early in the season," Kaminsky said. "We've got a lot to work on."
Krzyzewski loves the way his young team is playing early in the season. In the 6-foot-11 Okafor and 6-9 Jefferson, he has two big guys he's comfortable with in the post and protecting the basket.
"We have depth on the perimeter," Krzyzewski said. "We can stay fresh, pretty fresh."
It was also a valuable road experience for his talented freshmen.
"This is great. I've never experienced anything like this," Okafor said about winning in a tough environment away from home.
Wisconsin shot 40 percent from the field, and Ryan said his team was bothered in part by Duke's length and athleticism on the wings. It didn't help that Kaminsky's frontcourt running mates Sam Dekker (five points) and Nigel Hayes (four points) had subpar nights.
Hayes was hampered by foul trouble, while Dekker was slowed by a lingering ankle injury.
Duke: The Blue Devils shot 60 percent (15 of 25) in the first half for a 35-32 halftime lead. They were 5 of 9 from 3-point range.
Wisconsin: The Badgers' first four field goals were 3s. They shot 13 of 29 (44 percent) in the first half, with Kaminsky and Jackson leading the way with eight early points apiece.
Duke: Hosts Elon on Dec. 15.
Wisconsin: At Marquette on Saturday.
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