No. 4 Duke puts away Vermont with strong second half

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 23 Mar, 2024 at 06:22 AM

Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK -- Mark Mitchell and Jared McCain scored 15 points apiece to lead four Duke players in double figures Friday night as the No. 4 Blue Devils pulled away in the second half to beat No. 13 Vermont 64-47 in an NCAA Tournament South Region first-round game.

Duke (25-8) will play James Madison in a second-round game Sunday. The Blue Devils, who were knocked out by Tennessee in the second round last season, haven't missed the Sweet 16 in consecutive tournaments since 2007-08.

Jeremy Roach scored 14 points and Tyrese Proctor added 13 for Duke. Kyle Filipowski, who entered the game averaging 17.1 points per contest, was held to three points and just one field goal attempt but pulled down 12 rebounds.

The Blue Devils were 20-of-29 from the free throw line, while Vermont made two of their six free throws.

Duke shot 42.2 percent (19 of 45) from the field while holding Vermont to just 38.5 percent (20 of 52).

"Really big defensive stops to hold them to 47 points," Duke coach Jon Scheyer said. "They're tough, man. They spread you, they drive you, they post you. Just thought it was a terrific job by these guys, showing a lot of toughness, a lot of heart. Really proud of this win."

Shamir Bogues scored 18 points for Vermont (28-7), which won the America East for the third straight season. Aaron Deloney had 14 points for the Catamounts, who were making their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance. TJ Long scored three points and suffered an apparent knee injury.

"Really tough loss and obviously it always hurts a lot when your season ends, especially when you have a season like we've had this year," Vermont coach John Becker said. "Just a special group of guys and people that achieved so much this year."

The Blue Devils led by as many as 10 in the opening 20 minutes, when they outscored Vermont 11-0 from the free throw line and Mitchell scored 10 of his 11 first-half points with the Catamounts' Nick Fiorillo on the bench due to two early fouls.

The Catamounts mounted a 9-1 run to pull within 29-27 on a layup by Bogues, but McCain scored five straight points before Deloney's scoop layup just before the buzzer cut Duke's lead to 34-29.

Vermont scored five of the first seven points in the second half before Mitchell missed a pair of free throws. Fiorello missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer on the Catamounts' next possession, and McCain and Proctor hit 3-pointers on consecutive trips to begin a 14-5 run that ended with Roach hitting a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 50-39 with 8:51 left.

"I think there was a lot of plays here and there that kind of changed the momentum of the game and that was one of them," Deloney said of McCain's 3-pointer following Fiorello's missed 3-point attempt.

Bogues scored five straight points, but Proctor drained a 3-pointer following a Duke timeout to begin a game-ending 14-3 run.

"Defense is going to win us these games," McCain said. "We have the talent for offense. It's going to be defense."

--Jerry Beach, Field Level Media