NCAA tournament: Duke cruises past Oral Roberts 74-51

Friday, March 17, 2023
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- ACC champion Duke raced out and never trailed in dispatching Oral Roberts 74-51 on Thursday in its opening round of the NCAA tournament's East Region.

Jeremy Roach matched his career high with 23 points to lead the No. 5 seed Blue Devils in the school's first NCAA tournament game since Jon Scheyer took over as Blue Devils coach.

No other Duke starter scored in double figures, but Dariq Whitehead provided plenty of support off the bench with 13 points on 5-of-7 field goals. He also made all three of his 3-point attempts. Derek Lively II added 12 rebounds and six blocks.

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 on Saturday 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, a No. 12 seed, missed 12 straight shots - seven were 3-point attempts - during a 12-minute scoring drought to begin the game.

Mark Mitchell finishes off a slam for Duke against Oral Roberts on Thursday.
Chris O'Meara

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.

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