Frank Mason's Jumper Takes Down No. 1 Duke, Kentucky Set to Ascend to Top Spot | Zagsblog
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Sunday / April 21.
  • Frank Mason’s Jumper Takes Down No. 1 Duke, Kentucky Set to Ascend to Top Spot

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    NEW YORK –– Thanks to a game-winning pullup jumper by Frank Mason III with 1.8 seconds remaining, No. 7 Kansas handed top-ranked Duke its first loss of the season.

    Kansas, which was coming off a loss to Indiana Friday night in the Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu, edged Duke, 77-75, in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.

    “I just took advantage of the separation I created and I just shot the ball,” Mason III said. “It felt good when it left my hand and I just thank God that it went in.”

    After Duke’s Frank Jackson hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 75 with 20 seconds remaining, Mason III drove from midcourt, pulled up from 12 feet and drained the game-winner.

    Duke’s Matt Jones missed a desperation three at the buzzer.

    “It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Mason III said. “I just gotta thank God and thank my teammates for putting me in position to make the shot.”

    “He’s made a lot of big plays for us,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I don’t know if he’s made game-winners, but he’s certainly plays to put us into overtime…Yeah, he’s a stud.”

    “Mason made a big-time play, he was well-guarded and he just made a big-time play,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

    In the first game of the night, No. 2 Kentucky handily beat No. 13 Michigan State, 69-48, behind a combined 56 points from guards Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe and De’Aaron Fox.

    Kentucky (3-0) figures to ascend to the No. 1 ranking next week assuming the Wildcats don’t lose.

    Asked if all the freshmen in the Champions Classic had overshadowed a senior like Mason III, Self said: “I think [the] NBA is missing the boat on him. He doesn’t fit the eye test with length and standing height and that kind of stuff. But he’s got some things you can’t teach and intangibles that are as good as anybody in America probably possess.”

    Mason III scored 21 points, freshman sensation Josh Jackson had 15 before fouling out and Devonte’ Graham added points 13 for the Jayhawks (1-1).

    “It was a heck of a game, they’re really good,” Krzyzewski said. “Their backcourt is a heck of a backcourt.”

    Luke Kennard led Duke (2-1) with 22 points, Jones added 13 and Grayson Allen and Amile Jefferson 12 apiece. Duke played without stud freshmen big men Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, all of whom are coping with lower-body injuries.

    “We’ll see what will happen when we get guys back,” Krzyzewski said. “We didn’t lose because we were short-handed tonight. We lost because Kansas played better.”

    Duke led 34-29 at the break, but Kansas outscored the Blue Devils 48-41 in the second half.

    Kansas traveled straight to New York from Hawaii on Saturday and Self said it was good to avoid going 0-2 to start.

    “If you’re going to travel 11,000 miles,” he said, “you might as well win at least one game.”

    Photo: NCAA.com

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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