The Washington Post
Roach matches career best in a rout
Jeremy Roach matched his career high with 23 points, and No. 5 seed Duke beat Oral Roberts, 74-51, on Thursday night in Orlando in the school’s first NCAA tournament game since Jon Scheyer took over as Blue Devils coach.
Dariq Whitehead added 13 points for the Blue Devils (27-8), winners of the ACC tournament. Roach (Paul VI) has now scored 23 points in back-to-back games after setting his career high in the ACC tournament championship game.
Scheyer helped Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski win two of five national titles as a former Duke player and assistant. He’s now trying to orchestrate some March Madness magic of his own.
In his first NCAA tournament game as Krzyzewski’s replacement, Scheyer led Duke to a 10th consecutive win and a second-round matchup in the East Region against fourth-seeded Tennessee, which outlasted No. 13 seed Louisiana Lafayette in the final game of the day.
Krzyzewski lost his first NCAA tournament game, then led the Blue Devils to the Final Four 13 times.
Scheyer smiled but cut short any comparisons.
“Let’s not go down that road,” Scheyer said. “He’s done everything you could do. I’m not going down that road.”
Oral Roberts (30-5) entered the tournament on a nation-leading 17-game winning streak but was unable to replicate its success of two years ago, when the Golden Eagles upset Ohio State and Florida during a surprising run to the Sweet 16.
“Wrong night to have a bad night. A lot of credit goes to Duke. They’re obviously really good,” Oral Roberts Coach Paul Mills said. “Walking over here, they offered us Duke Blue Devil colored Powerade, so it’s kind of an indication of how much it wasn’t our night.”
Duke scored the first 15 points of the game, and Oral Roberts missed 12 straight shots — seven were three-point attempts — during a 12-minute scoring drought to begin the game. Duke’s advantage was never less than 13 the rest of the way.
Depleted by injuries for prolonged stretches of the season, Duke improved to 19-1 when Scheyer has his full roster available. While the Blue Devils have excelled defensively all year, their offense has blossomed down the stretch.
That figures to makes them a very dangerous team moving forward.
Roach made 9 of 17 shots from the field and all four of his free throws. Dereck Lively II had 12 rebounds and paced Duke’s defense with six blocked shots, a freshman record for the NCAA tournament.
Scheyer praised Roach, who has stepped up for Duke with the season on the line.
“Jeremy has been on a tear. For me, it’s more just his mind-set. I think the scoring, the play making comes with it. He’s never rattled,” Scheyer said. “He’s playing both sides of the ball. He played 36 minutes, and defensively he did a great job.”
Summit League player of the year Max Abmas was limited to 12 points on 4-for-15 shooting for Oral Roberts. The high-scoring Golden Eagles shot just 30.2 percent from the field, including 8 for 32 from three-point range.
TENNESSEE 58, LOUISIl ANA LAFAYETTE 55: Tyreke Key scored 12 points, Jahmai Mashack added 11, and the Volunteers survived a late scare to hold off the Ragin’ Cajuns in an East Region game in Orlando.
Louisiana Lafayette (26-8) whittled an 18-point deficit to three in the final minute — creating some tense moments and a couple technical fouls — but Tennessee (24-10) closed it out by forcing tough shots and making just enough free throws.
Tennessee, which had lost six of 10 heading into the tournament, advanced to face fifth-seeded Duke.
It will be the first meeting between the schools in the NCAA tournament.
The Vols should hope to take much better care of the ball than they did against the Sun Belt Conference tournament champions. They finished with 18 turnovers in the fourth game without starting point guard Zakai Zeigler, who tore a ligament in his left knee in the team’s regular season finale. Zeigler led the SEC with 6.5 assists a game.
Uros Plavsic added nine points, and Oliver Nkamhoua chipped in with eight for Tennessee.
Jordan Brown led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 16 points.