62
TF 10
FINAL
End
2nd
CBS
Fri Mar. 22
7:10pm
BONUS
85
TF 9
ML: +1936
DUKE -27.5, O/U 148.5
ML: -8571
NDAKST
DUKE

No Text

Duke's Zion Show has successful NCAA Tournament debut

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Everything was set for Zion Williamson's starring turn on the biggest stage in college basketball.

The Duke megastar made his NCAA Tournament debut some 90 miles away from his high school, in front of what was essentially a hometown crowd, with a CBS camera dedicated to his every move.

Too much hype for a freshman? Not this one.

Williamson, as expected, had a spectacular showing and proved once again he's the most prolific player in the game right now.

He scored 25 points in an explosive performance to lead top-seeded Duke to an 85-62 win over North Dakota State in Friday night's first round game.

''Wow,'' the 18-year old said he thought to himself in his hotel room a day before the debut, ''I'm really here.''

His debut will go down as one of the strongest in recent memory, and his second-half show was a dazzling display of the talents that have him projected as the top player in the NBA draft.

RJ Barrett led Duke with 26 points and 14 rebounds, and combined with Williamson they made for an unstoppable 1-2 freshman punch. Barrett and Williamson gave Duke two players with 20 or more points in their NCAA Tournament debuts for the first time since Mark Alarie and Johnny Dawkins did it in 1984.

But this was Williamson's show and he could not be contained in the second half as Duke turned a tight early contest into a runaway in the first round of the East Region.

Williamson was disappointed in the Blue Devil's sluggish first half as Duke led just 31-27 at the break. Teammates were in his ear, he said, telling the star to ''be me.''

When that happens, there's no one in college basketball like Williamson.

He opened the half by driving on two defenders for a layup that drew a foul. He missed the free throw but Williamson answered with a monster slam.

The highlight, though, came moments later on Williamson's breathtaking dribble-behind-his-back-after-chasing-down-his-own-steal layup.

The 6-foot-7, 285-pound freshman outran 5-11, 190-pound Vinnie Shahid of North Dakota State for the ball after he tipped it for a steal. Williamson then dribbled behind his back, briefly losing and regaining his balance with a hand on the floor. That cleared room for Williamson to get to the lane and go up and under for a layup.

Just like that, the Blue Devils were up 40-27 and cruising. The Bison (19-16) never recovered.

''In the second half, we played beautiful basketball,'' Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Barrett said Duke, which starts four freshmen, may have been overly excited about the NCAAs. When they settled down and began to play, Barrett said, things came easier.

The Blue Devils (30-5) will face No. 9 seed UCF on Sunday for a spot in the Sweet 16, setting up a match of game's most captivating player in Williamson with college basketball's tallest player in the Knights' 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall.

Shahid led the Bison with 20 points.

North Dakota State coach David Richman knew Duke had the potential for a backbreaking run that would put his team on its heels. Shahid was as awed by Williamson as everyone else.

''Probably one of the best athletes I've seen with my own eyes,'' he said.

Still, Richman's spunky team held a 25-24 lead late in the opening half. That was when the Blue Devils settled for too many jump shots, Krzyzewski said, giving North Dakota State the chance to hang around.

Once Williamson got going, Duke showed why it is the top overall seed in this tournament and why CBS is dedicated to following Williamson's journey.

Duke was expected to pick up where it left off last week when it won its 21st Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament title. Williamson was electric in the conference tournament - he went 13 of 13 from the field in a quarterfinal win over Syracuse - and became the first freshman to win both ACC player of the year and tournament MVP.

Now on the big stage with the ''Zion Cam'' tracking his every move, Williamson was active early with a driving basket and a monster block on the other end.

Then a crazy thing happened - the Blue Devils struggled to score. They missed 3-pointers and close-in shots, mid-range jumpers and driving layups and found themselves trailing the Summit League Tournament champions 16-12 midway through the half.

Barrett and Reddish rallied Duke toward the end - Barrett had three straight baskets - and Jordan Goldwire's 3-pointer with a minute left sent Duke into the locker room with the lead.

Williamson's early highlight came with the game tied at 16 as he took a pass on the baseline a few feet from the rim, rose up and put down a power jam. The sold-out crowd at 18,000-seat Colonial Life Arena watched it unfold and drew in a collective breath before exploding at the result. Williamson played high school basketball in Spartanburg, 90 miles away.

BIG PICTURE

North Dakota State: The Bison closed the season strongly simply to make the NCAAs. With a 15-15 record before the conference tournament, the Bison won three straight to win the Summit League Tournament. They then defeated North Carolina Central 78-74 on Wednesday night's First Four matchup.

Duke: The Blue Devils had a sluggish start to the first - and probably only - NCAA Tournament for many of its freshman stars. But their ability to turn up the intensity will serve them well going forward, particularly if they hope to chase a sixth national title under coach Mike Krzyzewski.

TURNING UP THE D

North Dakota State shot 41 percent in the opening half, a number that dropped to 31 percent the final 20 minutes as Duke dug in on defense. The Blue Devils had 17 points off turnovers to just eight for the Bison.

LEFTIES

Barrett and Williamson were asked if part of their tight bond is because both are left-handed. After a moment, Barrett said, ''I guess it's cool for sure,'' when his coach, Mike Krzyzewski piped in, ''Being right-handed is cool, too.''

UP NEXT

Duke will move on to face ninth-seeded UCF on Sunday.

---

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/MarchMadness and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
T. Ward
24 G
R. Barrett
5 F
34.9 Min. Per Game 34.9
22.9 Pts. Per Game 22.9
4.1 Ast. Per Game 4.1
7.5 Reb. Per Game 7.5
48.8 Field Goal % 45.8
32.1 Three Point % 30.8
74.6 Free Throw % 66.2
+ 3 Jarius Cook made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jordan Horn 21.0
+ 2 Alex O'Connell made layup 39.0
  Defensive rebound by Justin Robinson 57.0
  Jarius Cook missed 3-pt. jump shot 59.0
+ 3 Joey Baker made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jordan Goldwire 1:20
+ 3 Jordan Horn made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jarius Cook 1:29
  Offensive rebound by North Dakota State 1:27
  Jordan Horn missed layup, blocked by Joey Baker 1:29
  Lost ball turnover on Joey Baker, stolen by Jordan Horn 1:30
  Offensive rebound by Joey Baker 1:30
  Joey Baker missed layup 1:32
Team Stats
Points 62 85
Field Goals 21-58 (36.2%) 33-65 (50.8%)
3-Pointers 8-29 (27.6%) 8-19 (42.1%)
Free Throws 12-14 (85.7%) 11-17 (64.7%)
Total Rebounds 34 38
Offensive 3 8
Defensive 26 29
Team 5 1
Assists 7 14
Steals 1 6
Blocks 2 7
Turnovers 11 6
Fouls 17 14
Technicals 0 0
20 PTS, 3 REB
26 PTS, 14 REB, 3 AST
12T
away team logo 16 N. Dak. St. 19-16 273562
home team logo 1 Duke 30-5 315485
Team Stats
away team logo 16 N. Dak. St. 19-16 73.0 PPG 33.4 RPG 11.5 APG
home team logo 1 Duke 30-5 82.7 PPG 43.7 RPG 15.9 APG
Key Players
0
V. Shahid G 13.1 PPG 3.0 RPG 2.6 APG 44.0 FG%
5
R. Barrett F 22.6 PPG 7.6 RPG 4.3 APG 45.4 FG%
Top Scorers
V. Shahid G 20 PTS 3 REB 0 AST
R. Barrett F 26 PTS 14 REB 3 AST
36.2 FG% 50.8
27.6 3PT FG% 42.1
85.7 FT% 64.7
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
V. Shahid 20 3 0 7/14 3/7 3/3 3 30 0 0 5 0 3
T. Ward 6 3 3 3/5 0/2 0/0 1 26 0 0 5 0 3
S. Griesel 4 3 0 1/4 0/0 2/2 1 24 0 0 0 0 3
R. Kreuser 2 7 1 1/7 0/4 0/0 1 20 0 2 0 0 7
J. Samuelson 0 3 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 2 16 0 0 0 0 3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
V. Shahid 20 3 0 7/14 3/7 3/3 3 30 0 0 5 0 3
T. Ward 6 3 3 3/5 0/2 0/0 1 26 0 0 5 0 3
S. Griesel 4 3 0 1/4 0/0 2/2 1 24 0 0 0 0 3
R. Kreuser 2 7 1 1/7 0/4 0/0 1 20 0 2 0 0 7
J. Samuelson 0 3 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 2 16 0 0 0 0 3
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Horn 11 0 1 4/9 3/6 0/0 2 14 1 0 0 0 0
D. Geu 6 3 0 1/5 0/2 4/4 1 19 0 0 1 1 2
J. Cook 6 0 1 2/3 2/3 0/0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0
T. Eady 4 0 0 2/3 0/1 0/0 1 16 0 0 0 0 0
C. Hunter 3 2 0 0/3 0/2 3/5 3 13 0 0 0 1 1
C. Quayle 0 2 0 0/2 0/0 0/0 1 12 0 0 0 1 1
J. Knotek 0 3 1 0/1 0/1 0/0 1 6 0 0 0 0 3
J. Meidinger - - - - - - - - - - - - -
O. Wilson IV - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 62 29 7 21/58 8/29 12/14 17 200 1 2 11 3 26
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
R. Barrett 26 14 3 9/18 2/4 6/9 2 34 1 0 1 5 9
Z. Williamson 25 3 0 12/16 1/2 0/2 0 30 1 1 0 1 2
C. Reddish 12 4 3 3/9 2/6 4/4 1 26 2 1 1 0 4
T. Jones 5 3 4 2/5 0/2 1/2 2 30 1 0 1 0 3
J. DeLaurier 2 2 1 1/2 0/0 0/0 3 15 0 3 1 0 2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
R. Barrett 26 14 3 9/18 2/4 6/9 2 34 1 0 1 5 9
Z. Williamson 25 3 0 12/16 1/2 0/2 0 30 1 1 0 1 2
C. Reddish 12 4 3 3/9 2/6 4/4 1 26 2 1 1 0 4
T. Jones 5 3 4 2/5 0/2 1/2 2 30 1 0 1 0 3
J. DeLaurier 2 2 1 1/2 0/0 0/0 3 15 0 3 1 0 2
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. O'Connell 7 2 0 3/7 1/2 0/0 0 11 0 0 0 0 2
J. Goldwire 3 1 1 1/2 1/2 0/0 2 21 1 0 0 0 1
J. Baker 3 2 0 1/2 1/1 0/0 1 7 0 1 1 2 0
M. Bolden 2 3 2 1/3 0/0 0/0 1 18 0 1 0 0 3
J. Robinson 0 2 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 2 4 0 0 1 0 2
A. Vrankovic 0 1 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 4 0 0 0 0 1
B. Besser - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. White - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Buckmire - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 85 37 14 33/65 8/19 11/17 14 200 6 7 6 8 29