Game Recap (Men’s Basketball): #2 Duke vs #7 Rhode Island
By: Cale Berger
The second round of 32 game from Pittsburgh pitted the 2-seed Duke Blue Devils against the 7-seed Rhode Island Rams. Duke arrived here after handling the Iona Gaels on Thursday, while Rhode Island narrowly edged the Oklahoma Sooners. The game was tightly contested early, as the Blue Devils led by just 1 with 13 minutes left to play in the first half. The Rams were impressive on the defensive end to start, forcing 5 turnovers including two drawn charges on Marvin Bagley III and Javin DeLaurier.
The teams continued to jostle back and forth with Rhode Island eventually grasping a narrow 11-10 lead at the second media timeout. Duke responded with a 16-3 run that included three-point shots from Gary Trent Jr. and Grayson Allen that gave them a 26-14 lead with 8:13 left to play. They followed that run up with another offensive outburst, knocking down 8-straight shots from the field to extend their lead to 15 at 33-18. The Rams were finally able to get their offense started once again, hitting 4 of 5 from the field to cut the Blue Devils’ lead to just 12 with 3:45 to go.
Duke’s now patented zone defense gave Rhode Island fits, forcing them to settle for numerous contested, high-difficulty shots from the perimeter. Duke led 45-28 at the half, courtesy of balanced scoring from their starting five. Trent Jr. led them in scoring with 11 points on 4 of 8 shooting, 3 of 6 from three. E.C. Matthews was the only Ram that could score consistently in the first half, leading them in scoring with 13 points on 50% shooting.
It was more of the same in the second half, as Duke extended their lead to 25 points by the under-12 media timeout. This was a result of continued hot shooting from the Blue Devils, who started off hitting 7 of their first 12 attempts. Their size also began to take a toll on the Rams, as Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. both dominated in the paint and on the boards. Bagley had already achieved a 20-point performance with 7:02 left in regulation, Duke led 74-49.
The Blue Devils defeated the Rams handedly 87-62. Bagley III led Duke with 22, adding 9 rebounds as well. Trent Jr. finished with 18, knocking down 4 threes. E.C. Matthews continued his stellar play in the second, finishing with a game-high 23 points. The Blue Devils advance to the Sweet Sixteen where they will play the winner of tomorrow’s Syracuse versus Michigan State matchup. Coach K surpassed legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt for the most Division 1 wins all-time with 1,099.