No. 2 Duke (27-7) defeated No. 15 Iona (20-14), 89-67, to move on in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
The Blue Devils will match up against No. 7 Rhode Island in Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 17.
How it happened
Duke took advantage inside early, then showed off its outside shooting, making its first six buckets. After keeping pace with Duke early, missed shots and a handful of turnovers buried the Gaels as the Blue Devils ripped off a 17-3 run. Iona’s 1-3-1 zone finally started forcing difficult shots for Duke as Roland Griffin and TK Edogi pushed the Gaels back into the game, cutting the deficit to 9 points.
A triple at the buzzer by Grayson Allen gave Duke the lead, 53-39, at the break.
The Blue Devils blitzed Iona immediately out of the second half, using rapid passing and their length around the perimeter to force deflections and missed shots. Duke didn’t pull up from there, coasting to a win that wasn’t ever in danger of slipping away in the second half.
What we learned
- Duke’s defensive intensity wasn’t where it needed to be early on, as Iona broke down the Blue Devils’ zone and found open shots to stay close.
- They have to be crisp on rotations, as there are still holes in Duke’s defense despite the switch from man-to-man to zone.
- Size remains the Blue Devils’ biggest advantage in the tournament, with the 6-foot-11 Marvin Bagley III and 6-foot-10 Wendell Cart Jr. shredding interior defensive opposition.
- Duke lived and died by the 3-point shot, connecting on 9 of 16 attempts from the field in the first half.
- Four of five Duke starters finished in double-digits. Bagley III led the team with 22 points and 7 rebounds.
- Trevon Duval had 19 points and 8 assists, while Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr. had 16 points each.
- Iona shot just 21 percent from 3-point range.
- Duke shot 54 percent from the field and 43 percent form 3-point territory.
- The Blue Devils outrebounded Iona 39-29, bringing down 14 offensive rebounds.
- Roland Griffin led the Gaels with 21 points off the bench.
What’s next for Duke
Duke will play No. 7 Rhode Island in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday in Pittsburgh.
The Rams eliminated Trae Young and No. 10 Oklahoma in an overtime thriller, 83-78, in their first-round matchup Thursday afternoon.
After winning the National Championship in 2014-15, Duke fell in the Regional Semifinal in 2015-16 and saw a second-round exit just last season.
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