ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- Nick Collison showed why he was the object of a huge recruiting battle between Kansas and Duke.
Collison collected a career-high 33 points and 19 rebounds as the second-seeded Jayhawks gave coach Roy Williams his first win over No. 3 Duke with a 69-65 triumph in the semifinals of the West Region.
Williams had been 0-3 against Duke and not much better against coach Mike Krzyzewski in pursuit of players.
"We haven't had very much success recruiting against (him)," Williams admitted.
The notable exception was Collison, the senior forward who victimized the Blue Devils' young big men down the stretch.
Collison's three-point play gave Kansas (28-7) the lead for good at 59-57 with 7:10 remaining. He made another basket and a terrific catch of an inbounds pass and scored for a 63-57 edge with 5:41 left.
"I told Nick in the locker room that he played his buns off," Williams said.
Duke (26-7) saw heralded freshman J.J. Redick turn in his worst effort at the worst time. He made just 2-of-16 shots for five points and many of his attempts down the stretch were woefully off the mark. He was 1-of-11 on his 3-point attempts.
The Blue Devils had chances late in the game but made inopportune mistakes. Redick barely grazed the iron on a 3-pointer with 3:38 left and Duke trailing, 63-59. Dahntay Jones traveled on a layup that would have pulled Duke within 65-63 with 1:23 to go.
"It's really tough to score when both teams play outstanding on the defensive end of the court," Krzyzewski said. "Points were tough to come by, guys were putting their bodies on the line."
Jones scored a pair of baskets in a six-second span to cut the deficit to 68-65 with 17 seconds left. After Kansas' Aaron Miles made a foul shot, Jones missed a point-blank layup and Redick again came up short on a 3-pointer.
The Jayhawks won despite foul trouble for center Jeff Graves and a mediocre outing by lead guard Kirk Hinrich, who had just two points on 1-of-9 shooting.
Collison picked up his teammates by making 14-of-22 shots in exploiting Duke freshman Shelden Williams as well as Casey Sanders. Williams played just 13 minutes.
"Duke is a great program," Collison said. "It's the `Sweet 16.' You don't need any extra motivation. I chose Kansas. Duke did nothing wrong to me."
"We were successful in guarding Hinrich, but Collison was in a position where he gets the ball more, so what he did more than made up for it," Krzyzewski said.
The win was the second for Kansas in five NCAA Tournament meetings with Duke, which won the 1991 title over the Jayhawks and also won a second-round game three years ago.
"(Losing in ) '91 in the national championship game was very disappointing," Williams said. "Losing to them (three years) ago when Kirk and Nick were freshmen was very tough. This doesn't erase any of them, but it makes me feel a little better." Kansas faces top-seeded Arizona in the West Region final in a rematch of the Jayhawks' 91-74 loss on January 25. Kansas led by as many as 20 points in that meeting before the Wildcats roared back.
Jones closed his career with 23 points and seven rebounds for Duke, which lost in the "Sweet 16" for the second straight year. The Blue Devils shot just 33 percent (12-of-36) in the second half.
"It is very hard to say goodbye to the guys in the locker room," Jones said. "It has become a dream come true these last two years to play for `Coach K.'"
Duke led by as many as nine points in the first half, connecting on 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. Kansas used a late run to forge a 35-35 halftime tie.
"It was an unusual game because when they were making shots, most of the time they were threes," Williams said.
The Blue Devils opened the second half with a 9-1 spurt for a 44-36 advantage, getting five points from Jones. Kansas ran off the next nine points to go in front by a point. The lead changed hands five more times.
Jones split a pair from the line with 7:47 to go for Duke's final edge, 57-56. The Blue Devils made just one basket over the next seven minutes.
Krzyzewski, who lost three starters to the NBA from last season, lauded his young team's effort.
"I hope that all our years are like that, whether we get to the `Sweet 16,' win a national championship, get eliminated in the first round," he said. "That's my goal as a coach and a teacher."