Sunday, March 24, 2024

March Madness At Barclays: Duke Dominates Dukes & UConn Cruises To Sweet 16


UConn's Donovan Clingan slams one home to give them an 11-2 edge early in their win over Northwestern. Photo by Jason Schott.

On Sunday evening at Barclays Center, in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, the elite teams on the court played like it, as Duke dominated the Dukes of James Madison University in a 93-55 win, while Connecticut cruised by Northwestern, 75-58, in the nightcap.

Duke celebrating as they enter a timeout early in their win on Sunday evening. Photo by Jason Schott.

DUKE BLUE DEVILS 93, JAMES MADISON DUKES 55: In this South Regional matchup, the 4th-seeded Blue Devils had no trouble with James Madison, the 12th seed who upset Wisconsin the first round on Friday night.

Duke raced out to a 24-9 lead when Jared McCain buried a three at the 11:49 mark of the first half. McCain would pour in 22 points for Duke in the opening frame, one in which would lead by as many as 24 points. The Blue Devils took a 47-25 lead into halftime, as they shot 50 percent (17-34) overall and 44.4 percent (8-18) from behind the arc in the opening frame, while holding Madison to 40 percent (8-20) overall, including just 1-6 on threes.

The second half was more of the same, as Duke opened up a 58-29 lead when Tyrese Proctor buried a three at the 16:43 mark. They really left no doubt about how dominant this win was when they took a 90-53 lead with 3:33 left on a Sean Stewart fast break layup.

Jeremy Roach raises his arm in triumph as Duke was up 37 with 3:33 on the clock. Photo by Jason Schott.

Duke was led by McCain, who finished with 30 points on 10-15 from the field, including a superb 8-11 on three-pointers, with five rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Tyrese Proctor had 18 points (7-15 FG, 4-10 threes), with five assists, and three rebounds. Jeremy Roach had 15 points (5-8 FG, 1-2 threes), with six assists and a rebound. Kyle Filipowski had 14 points (6-8 FG), five rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

The Dukes were led by Terrence Edwards Jr., who had 13 points on 5-11 from the field, with three rebounds and two assists.

Duke Head Coach Jon Scheyer said afterwards, "Really proud of these guys and proud of our team. James Madison, you're playing a team that's had three losses the whole year and they had a really impressive performance against Wisconsin. And I don't know if we expected this, but I just thought our guys came out with such a great competitiveness  and they were obviously ready to play. Not just ready to play. You have to be ready to compete in these games, and everybody that was on the floor I felt had that.

"It helps when you have a guy like Jared McCain. He broke the Duke record today for threes in the NCAA Tournament. We've had some pretty good shooters here, so to break that record with eight, I'm sure he's mad at me for taking him out early. He's going to be mad at me. He wanted to be in there more. But he had a great way about him, obviously. 

"And Flip (referring to Kyle Filipowski), just the attention he gets in his passing. I thought it was one of the best passing games we've had, 22 assists with six turnovers. They are in the top 20 in the country with turning you over. Obviously we are going to enjoy this one, celebrate it today, and find out quickly who we are playing and can't wait to go to Dallas."

Duke will be facing No. 1 Houston, who survived a tough battle from No. 9 Texas A&M, as they won, 100-95, in overtime late Sunday night.

UConn Head Coach Dan Hurley was all smiles, as  Assistant Coach Luke Murray chats with Cam Spencer. Photo by Jason Schott.

CONNECTICUT HUSKIES 75, NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS 58: UConn, the defending National Champion, basically picked up where they left off after they rolled by Stetson on Friday. They opened this one with an 11-2 run capped by a Donovan Clingan dunk at the 15:25 mark of the first half.

A pair of Clingan free throws made it 26-10 at 6:34, and the Huskies took a 40-18 lead into the half.

The start of the second half was more of the same, as Samson Johnson slammed a dunk home to make it 57-27 at 13:28. 

Northwestern put a mild scare into Connecticut, as they went on an 11-2 run capped by a three-point play from Boo Buie that cut their lead down to 16, at 66-50, with 5:26 left. UConn tightened their defense up after that, and an Alex Karaban jumper at 1:35 made it 72-54, really sealing the win.

UConn point guard Tristen Newton surveying the offense in the first half.  Photo by Jason Schott.

Tristen Newton led UConn with 20 points on 7-13 shooting, with 10 assists to give him a double-double, and three rebounds. Donovan Clingan had 14 points (5-7 FG) and 14 rebounds, eight blocks, and an assist. Cam Spencer had 11 points (5-10 FG, 1-4 threes), with four rebounds, four assists, and a steal.

Northwestern was led by Brooks Barnhiser, who had 18 points on 6-14 from the field, including 1-5 from behind the arc, with six rebounds and assist. Ryan Langborg had 13 points (5-7 FG, 3-4 threes), with two steals and a rebound.

UConn will face No. 5 San Diego State in the Sweet 16 in Boston.

Donovan Clingan and Dan Hurley like what they see as they roll on to Boston. Photo by Jason Schott.

UConn Head Coach Dan Hurley said, "Just obviously impressed with the performance. You know, just really attacked them in the paint. Obviously the injuries that they have sustained during the year changed the total complexion of that team. That team, you know, with those guys that they lost, we're not playing them today; they are probably a 5 seed or a 6 seed.

"We were obviously thrilled with he performance, and to get that separation, you know, while going 3 for 22 from three. And a handful of those were contested but obviously we didn't shoot it great, and to still win by that margin, obviously it spoke to our defense and obviously the 20 assists on 29 field goals."

Hurley was asked about the three Big East teams that made the NCAA Tournament (Marquette and Creighton also are in it) going 6-0 this weekend. This comes on the heels of St. John's, Seton Hall, and Providence being left out of the big dance. Hurley spoke of what the trio's performance this weekend says about the conference, "Just the quality of the league. Look what we've done in non-conference games, you know. I don't know what our record is the last two years, non-conference MTEs, NCAA Tournament, and Seton Hall beat us by 15. You know, we've won eight straight in this tournament all by significant margins, and they were good enough to beat us and they were good enough to beat Marquette. And there should have been five or six Big East teams in this tournament.

"You've seen how other leagues that got the bids that our league deserved has underperformed. But me, Shock (Marquette's Shake Smart) and Big Mac (Creighton's Greg McDermott), we got a group chat going, and the other coaches in our league, I saw Kim (English, of Providence) and Shaheen (Holloway, of Seton Hall), you know, with he full league group chat that we have got with the coaches. I know everyone is fired up to see us continue to push and rep the league at a high level. I know Val (Ackerman, Big East Commissioner) is excited, too."

In a final salvo on the Selection Committee, Hurley said, "Obviously the mistake was made. It sucks."

MASCOT MAYHEM: Dance-offs among the team's mascots happened all weekend in Brooklyn.

James Madison & Duke:

Connecticut & Northwestern:

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