Top-seeded Duke runs past Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Kyle Singler scored 13 of his 22 points in the first half and ended with 10 rebounds, as top-seeded Duke ran past Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 73-44, in a first-round game of the South Region in the NCAA Tournament.
Winners of the ACC regular season and tournament championships, the Blue Devils (30-5) will play California on Sunday. The eighth-seeded Golden Bears beat Louisville, 77-62.
Making their 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the Blue Devils also received 13 points from Jon Scheyer and 12 from Lance Thomas. Nolan Smith scored 10 to go with five assists.
"Our defense was excellent," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We're more talented than they are, but I thought we played as hard and we played very well."
Tavaris Washington led the way with nine points for the Golden Lions (18-16), who beat Winthrop Tuesday in the opening-round contest in Dayton. Arkansas- Pine Bluff, which won the SWAC tourney, was making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
"We had to slow the ball down so we could get into offense and execute more and the defense needed to find back door cuts and stuff like that," Washington said. "We didn't execute like we were supposed to, which led to a lot of turnovers."
The Golden Lions struggled by going 6-of-24 from the field in the opening 20 minutes. Scheyer's three-pointer moved the Blue Devils to an 11-3 lead just over three minutes into the game.
"I thought that was the key in the first half to set a tone," Scheyer said of the Lions' shooting in the first half. "We really just wanted to keep them in front because they spread you a lot, and we wanted to play great team defense. We didn't want to leave someone out there just playing one-on-one against them because that's how they can be successful. So for us, I thought we did a good job of helping each other out and then getting the rebound."
An 11-2 spurt opened a 22-7 cushion. Brian Zoubek capped the burst with a free throw with 9:36 left in the half. A pair of foul shots from Singler widened the margin to 39-20 at the break.
Duke continued to pull away early in the second half. Zoubek's layup made it 45-22 nearly four minutes in, and the Blue Devils expanded the lead to 68-37 on Smith's bucket with just over four minutes remaining.
Duke a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for an 11th time, improved to 38-8 all-time as a top seed...Duke has posted at least 30 wins 11 times in its history...The Blue Devils have won 13 of their last 14 first-round games. The only defeat in that stretch came to Virginia Commonwealth in 2007...The Golden Lions finished shooting 32.1 percent from the field...Duke went 13-of-23 in the second half and held a 41-24 rebounding advantage.
03/20 01:31:15 ET