College basketball roundup: Duke knocks off App State, Wolfpack women suffer upset
Published 10:54 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021
By Mitchell Northam
DURHAM — Wendell Moore Jr. scored 21 points as No. 2 Duke pulled away for a 92-67 victory over Appalachian State on Thursday night.
Moore made 8 of 11 shots and had five rebounds and six assists. Paolo Banchero scored 16 points, AJ Griffin and Trevor Keels had 11 apiece and Jeremy Roach scored 10 for the Blue Devils (9-1).
Duke ended the first half on a 20-9 run and led by 13 points at intermission. App State (6-6) had led 24-23 midway through the first half.
“That was a really good game for us. They play hard and they’re a veteran team,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “They were tough. I think the score is not indicative of the game.”
The Mountaineers trimmed the deficit to five points early in the second half, but Duke then connected on three straight 3-point attempts to push its lead to double digits again. Leading the Mountaineers was Michael Almonacy, who scored all of his 17 points in the first half.
Appalachian State: The Mountaineers brought back 92% of their scoring from a team that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago, the third ever App State team to do so. The Mountaineers hung with Duke for a while, but couldn’t keep pace with the Blue Devils in the second half. Still, App State should have enough firepower to compete for the Sun Belt championship again.
“I thought we battled,” App State coach Dustin Kerns said. “I just thought our guys got worn down and Duke was terrific. … I’ve got a good team and this will just make us better.”
Duke: The Blue Devils played well enough to win by a comfortable margin. Duke took care of the ball, racking up 21 assists to just nine turnovers.
“We’re a really good offensive team when we share the ball the way that we did tonight,” Moore said.
Moore had two dunks that brought the crazy out of the fans at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The first was a fast-break tomahawk slam at the 3:02 mark in the first half that came amidst a 14-5 run for the Blue Devils. On the second, at the 5:55 mark in the second half, Moore charged down the lane through traffic for a one-handed jam that gave Duke a 20-point lead.
“He’s having, right now, an All-American year. He’s played as well as anybody. And he’s been a leader,” Krzyzewski said of Moore. “With all of the work he did in April and May, he completely changed his athletic ability.”
Entering this game, Moore was the only player in the country averaging better than 17 points, six rebounds and five assists per game while shooting better than 50% from the floor.
RESPECT FOR K
Many coaches — Krzyzewski included — are dressing down on the sidelines this season, ditching dress shoes and ties for sneakers and quarter-zips.
Kerns and his App State staff have embraced the athleisure trend, too, but he considered competing against Krzyzewski, likely for the last time, to be a special occasion. One that called for Kerns to wear a suit.
“It’s incredibly humbling to be on the sidelines with the winningest coach in college basketball history,” Kerns said. “This was me and my staff sharing a token of respect for him and his farewell tour. I think he’s our John Wooden.”
After not playing Tuesday against South Carolina State due to a back injury, Duke’s Theo John returned to the lineup, scoring six points in 14 minutes.
Appalachian State: The Mountaineers return to the Triangle on Tuesday, playing at North Carolina.
Duke: After its game against Cleveland State was canceled, Duke will now host Loyola (Maryland) on Saturday.
Georgia women top NC State in OT
RALEIGH — Jenna Staiti had 21 points and 11 rebounds while coming up with a critical defensive stop in the final seconds of overtime to help No. 17 Georgia beat No. 2 North Carolina State 82-80 on Thursday night.
Sarah Ashlee Barker added 16 points for the Bulldogs, including a long, leaning 3-pointer over Crutchfield with 0.4 seconds left in regulation to force the extra period.
The 6-foot-4 Staiti was defending 6-5 Wolfpack star Elissa Cunane in the paint with the Bulldogs protecting an 81-80 lead. Cunane turned toward the baseline and missed as Staiti stayed with her in a play with a lot of contact that left Cunane falling to the floor.
Staiti came up with the rebound with 1.7 seconds left. Que Morrison followed by making 1 of 2 free throws with 0.6 seconds remaining. The Wolfpack rebounded the second free throw and called timeout with 0.3 seconds left for a desperation final inbounds play, but Kayla Jones couldn’t get a shot off in time — sending the Bulldogs bench running from the bench to near midcourt for a hug-filled celebration on the Wolfpack’s home court.
It marked the first win for Georgia (9-1) against a team ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 for the first time in nearly 18 years. And it ended a 10-game winning streak for the Wolfpack (10-2). Morrison finished with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists for Georgia.
Cunane had 18 of her 20 points in the second half for the Wolfpack after spending most of the first half on the bench with two quick fouls. Diamond Johnson added 17 points for the Wolfpack, who rallied from 12 down at halftime but couldn’t hold onto a four-point lead in the final minute of regulation.
Georgia: Picked to finish fourth in the Southeastern Conference, the Bulldogs have lost only once this year — by a point to in-state rival and 18th-ranked Georgia Tech from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Georgia entered trying to beat a top-2 team for the first time since beating top-ranked Tennessee in the 2004 SEC Tournament semifinals.
N.C. State: Wes Moore’s squad hadn’t lost since falling to No. 1 South Carolina on opening night here, making the Wolfpack the first of five top-15 teams to lose to the Gamecocks so far this season. N.C. State had beaten two ranked teams since — No. 9 Maryland in the Bahamas and No. 10 Indiana on the road — but couldn’t add a third win against an AP Top 25 opponent.
Georgia: The Bulldogs face St. Francis (Pennsylvania) on Sunday in the first of three straight home games.
N.C. State: Virginia visits the Wolfpack on Sunday in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Also in action:
UNC Greensboro 62, UMBC 51: De’Monte Buckingham registered 11 points as UNC Greensboro beat UMBC. Kobe Langley had 10 points for UNC Greensboro (8-4).
UMBC totaled 23 second-half points, a season low for the team.
Keondre Kennedy had 14 points for the Retrievers (5-6), whose losing streak stretched to four games.