Clutch Thornton Leads Duke Over Kansas

by November 24, 2011

by David Cassilo / @dcassilo

While the Maui Invitational final featured two college powerhouses and a handful of potential lottery picks, it was the little known Tyler Thornton who sank two late three-pointers to lead No. 6 Duke over No. 14 Kansas, 68-61.

Thornton, a sophomore who averaged 1.6 ppg last season, was in the lineup late in the second half as Austin Rivers rested with four fouls. After an Elijah Johnson three-pointer put Kansas up 61-60 with 1:33 remaining, Thornton responded with a long-range jumper of his own. On Duke’s next possession, Thornton iced the game with an off-balance three-pointer as time expired on the shot clock. His two jumpers accounted for six of his seven points and had the Blue Devils up 66-61 with 21 seconds to play.

After the game, that second shot was all the talk.

From The News & Obsrever:

“It’s a dream shot,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “People will say it’s a lucky shot, but I’ll say I’m lucky to have him on my team. Sometimes you’re on a bus with a guy who deserves and for that moment we were on his bus. Thank goodness he knew how to drive it.”

Wednesday’s win marked the fifth time Duke has won the Maui Invitational and extended its record to 15-0 there. It won’t be long before the Blue Devils get their next test as they square off against Ohio State on Tuesday.