Jeremy Roach tied his career high with 23 points as fifth-seeded Duke ran away from No. 12 Oral Roberts for a wire-to-wire, 74-51 victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday in Orlando.
It’s the 10th straight win for the Blue Devils (27-8), who are moving on in the East Region under first-year coach Jon Scheyer. On Saturday, Duke will face No. 4 Tennessee, a 58-55 winner over 13th-seeded Louisiana later in the night.
Roach shot 9 of 17 from the floor and had just one turnover in 37 minutes of action. The veteran guard also had three assists and two rebounds.
“Jeremy has been on a tear,” Scheyer said. “For me, it’s more just his mindset. I think the scoring, the playmaking comes with it. He’s never rattled. He’s playing both sides of the ball. … Defensively he did a great job.”
Duke also was helped by 13 points from Dariq Whitehead, who shot 3-for-3 from 3-point range.
Dereck Lively II provided the Blue Devils with a game-high 12 rebounds and six blocked shots, and ACC Rookie of the Year Kyle Filipowski chipped in six points and nine boards. In all, 10 Duke players scored.
Upset-minded Oral Roberts (30-5) was led by 12 points from Max Abmas. He also had five assists and three rebounds and was the lone player to score in double digits for the Golden Eagles.
Duke opened the game with a bang, jumping out to a 15-0 lead. Roach scored seven points during that opening stretch.
The Blue Devils opened the second half on a 10-0 run to push their lead to 27 points. Mark Mitchell had four points and four rebounds for Duke in that span.
Oral Roberts broke off an 11-0 run to get to within 54-40, but never threatened to cut the deficit to single digits.
“I thought we had some key responses when they made their run, which you knew they were going to make at some time,” Scheyer said. “So really proud of the effort, proud of these guys right here. They did a great job.
“Five of them, it was their first NCAA Tournament game. You really couldn’t tell, and I think that’s a credit to them and their competitiveness and their ability to rise to the occasion.”
Also key for Duke was an ability to dominate inside. The Blue Devils won the rebounding battle 46-32 and outscored the Golden Eagles 40-22 in the paint.
Oral Roberts entered the game averaging 84.2 points per-game. The 51 points represented the Golden Eagles’ second-lowest total of the season.
The contest was the first time Duke played an NCAA Tournament game without former longtime coach Mike Krzyzewski on the sideline since March 15, 1980.
–Field Level Media