Friday, March 22, 2024

March Madness At Barclays: South Regional Report

Duke's Tyrese Proctor lining up a three-pointer that put them up 53-44 with 6:43 remaining. Photo by Jason Schott.

In the Friday night session of the NCAA Tournament at Barclays Center, in the South Regional, Duke and the Dukes rolled to victory to set up a Sunday showdown.

No. 4 Duke fought back a valiant effort from No. 13 Vermont to win 64-47, while No. 12 James Madison got out to a big lead and didn't have much trouble upsetting No. 5 Wisconsin, 72-61.

DUKE BLUE DEVILS 64, VERMONT CATAMOUNTS 47: The teams played even for the first six minutes, and then Duke did what was expected and went on a 15-4 run to open up a ten-point lead, 26-16, with 7:59 left in the first half.

Vermont responded with an 11-3 run, capped by a layup from Shamir Bogues that really got the crowd going, and made it 29-27 Duke with exactly 2:00 left in the first half.

The Vermont bench cheering on Shamir Bogues, who hit the deck after his layup pulled them within two points late in the first half. Photo by Jason Schott.

Duke took a 34-29 lead into the half, and they opened the second half on a tear, opening up an 11-point lead, 48-37, on a Jeremy Roach layup at 9:25.

At this point, the crowd was willing Vermont on, and Bogues answered the call, as he scored seven straight points to pull them within six, at 50-44, with 7:26 left.

Duke built its lead back to 12 points, 56-44, on a Roach three-point play with 4:53 remaining.

Duke players congratulate Roach after the big layup.


Aaron Deloney responded with a three-pointer 11 seconds later. Those would be the last points Vermont would score, as Duke closed the game on an 8-0 run in the final four minutes and 42 seconds.

Duke was led by Jared McCain and Mark Mitchell, who had 15 points apiece. McCain shot 4-9, including 2-6 from behind the arc, and then had six rebounds and three assists. Mitchell was 6-9 from the field, and he had five rebounds. Jeremy Roach had 14 points (3-10 FG, 1-2 threes, 7-9 free throws), with five rebounds, four assists, and a steal. Kyle Filipowski hauled in 12 rebounds, while putting up just three points, all free throws, with four assists and two steals. Tyrese Proctor had 13 points (5-14 FG, 3-9 threes), with four rebounds.

Vermont was led by Shamir Bogues, who had 18 points on 8-14 from the field, including 1-4 on three-pointers, with five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Aaron Deloney had 14 points (6-13 FG, 2-6 threes), with three rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

Vermont's Shamir Bogues taking it to the hoop to pull them within 36-33 at the 16:30 mark of the second half. Photo by Jason Schott.

COACHES' COMMENTS: Duke Head Coach Jon Scheyer: "One, I thought it was a great college basketball game. Great tournament game. We knew going in, Vermont, (Head Coach) John Becker, his staff, the job they have done, we knew it was going to be a battle. And I thought they threw in - not threw in, but I thought they made some really though shots at the end of the first half. 

"The beginning of the second half they made a great run. I thought our response is what I'm really proud of. Literally I could go down the line with each of these guys that stepped up and made big shots, big rebounds. But really big defensive stops, to hold them to 47 points.

"They are tough, man. They spread you. They drive you. They post you. Just thought it was a terrific job by these guys and showing a lot of toughness, a lot of heart and really proud of this win."

Vermont Head Coach John Becker: On the fans pulling for his team: "Yeah, it was awesome. Yeah, we fed off that. And we wish like hell we could have gave them more to cheer about. And they were ready to explode on every basket we made and did. We just didn't make enough of them. But God, I just was hoping - we did for the most part, just could have found the magic and just could have made a run late.

"The roof would have come off the place. Our guys were tired. We're playing NBA players, you know what I mean. Like we don't have NIL. We don't pay anyone anything. These kids are zero star recruits. So we had to expend so much energy against this team, and to fight like that. We needed the last piece to get over that hump. We just needed some magic and let the crowd just carry us home. It's not always a storybook Hollywood ending, but we feel very, very fortunate and blessed to have an opportunity to do this in front of just great people and great fans."


James Madison guard Julien Wooden draining a three-pointer that put them up 18-5 halfway through the first half. Photo by Jason Schott.

When this matchup was announced on Selection Sunday, CBS Sports' Seth Davis immediately said he saw an upset from James Madison. They proved Davis right from the jump when they raced out to an 18-5 lead when Julien Wooden buried a three-pointer at the 10:21 mark of the first half.

Wisconsin would reel off an 11-3 run over the next 3:18 to pull within five, at 21-16, but Madison responded with a 10-0 clip to go back up 15 with 1:30 left in the first half. They would take a 33-20 lead into the break.

In the second half, the closest Wisconsin got was six points, at 52-46, with 8:54 left. Over the next three and a half minutes, Madison went on an 11-3 run capped by a trio of Raekwon Horton free throws that made it 63-49 with 5:24 left, and they were in control the rest of the way.

James Madison was led by Terrence Edwards, who had 14 points on 5-13 from the field, with five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. T.J. Bickerstaff and Julien Wooden had 12 points apiece. Bickerstaff narrowly missed a double-double, as he hauled in nine rebounds, and he shot 5-8 from the field. Wooden shot 4-8 overall, including 1-3 from behind the arc, and he had three rebounds, three steals, and an assist. 

Wisconsin was led by Max Klesmit, who had 18 points on 5-12 from the field, including 5-9 from behind the arc (yes, all five shots he made were threes), with four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. AJ Storr had 13 points (5-14 FG), with four rebounds and two steals.

COACHES' COMMENTS: James Madison Head Coach Mary Byington: "I'll start with this. I'll tell you exactly what I told the team. I'm proud of them but not surprised. You know, these guys compete. They come to win. They play to win. And we kind of heard things about our schedule not being tough and who we are, and we knew we belong. We know we're good. We know we can compete.

"And they showed that today. You know, from start to finish, I thought we were playing the right way. The guys never flinched. They knew the whole time that we were going to pull this thing out, and that's the type of group we've got. They are used to winning and I love coaching them. And we know it's a challenge coming up, and we love challenges. We're excited about it."

Wisconsin Head Coach Greg Gard: First of all, congrats to James Madison. Even more impressive in person than they were on film, and I was really impressed with them on film. I thought their pressure bothered us, specifically in the first half, obviously with 13 turnovers, they really got after us. We didn't handle it exceptionally well, and when we did, we weren't able to finish at times around the rim and missed some easy shots.

"But how this group battled back in the second half to get it back to six. When you have 13 turnovers and shoot 26 percent in the first half, you've really dug yourself a hole, but this group has had no quit in them all year. And, you know, to have it back to six twice, and shots to get it closer, they have given everything they had and left it out there on the floor.

"So really proud of, obviously, Tyler (Wahl) being our only senior, what he's given to this program and these guys to my left, I never had to coach effort, and when you don't have to coach effort, you can have a lot of good things happen, which this group has done. So this is going to sting for quite some time because we felt we could obviously play better, but we'll absorb it and we'll continue to move on."

SUNDAY AT BARCLAYS: Duke and James Madison will top off at 5:15 p.m., and UConn and Northwestern will face off at 7:45 p.m.

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