ORLANDO, Fla. – Jeremy Roach matched a career-high 23 points, and No. 5 seed Duke beat Oral Roberts 74-51 on Thursday 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 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. Roach has now scored 23 points in back-to-back games after setting his career high the ACC 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 either fourth-seeded Tennessee or No. 13 seed Louisiana-Lafayette.
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.
Duke scored the first 15 points of the game, Oral Roberts missed 12 straight shots – seven were 3-point attempts – during a 12-minute scoring drought to begin the game. Duke’s advantage was never fewer 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.
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% from the field, including 8 of 32 from 3-point range.
Oral Roberts: Abmas and three other starters are seniors, which means the Golden Eagles will have a new look next season.
Duke: The Blue Devils are a year removed from their 17th Final Four appearance. The way they’re playing, another deep tournament run isn’t out of the question.