College basketball: Duke cruises; Wake Forest, Davidson ousted

Published 4:16 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023


AP Sports Writer

GREENSBORO (AP) — Duke’s recent formula for success has focused around playing solid defense and rebounding.

If the Blue Devils can score the way they did on Thursday, they could be headed for another deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

Kyle Filipowski overcame an early ankle injury to score 22 points, Tyrese Proctor added 11 points and 10 assists, and No. 21 Duke cruised to a 96-69 win over Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals. Duke posted season highs in points scored and shooting percentage (62%), and made 13 3-pointers behind an ACC Tournament-record 27 assists.

Dereck Lively II had 13 points and Mark Mitchell added 12 for the fourth-seeded Blue Devils, who bolted to a 48-32 halftime lead en route to their seventh straight win. It’s the longest active streak of any ACC team.

Filipowski said the win sends a message.

“We’re coming,” Filipowski said. “We’re coming for whoever’s in our way. People don’t respect us still. We have that chip on our shoulder. No matter who we’re facing, we still have something to prove to them.”

Pitt coach Jeff Capel said Duke has the potential to turn some heads in March.

“I do think they can make a run,” Capel said. “They have size, they have athleticism. They have really gotten better defensively and if they shoot the ball the way they did today, especially from three, that makes them even more difficult to guard.”

Nike Sibande had 17 points and Guillermo Diaz Graham had 14 for Pitt (22-11).

The Blue Devils (24-8) scored on their first four possessions, bolting to a 12-0 lead with Filipowski knocking down 3s from the right corner and left wing.

“The start we got off to was incredibly important to us,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said.

Filipowski drew gasps from Duke fans in the crowd when he appeared to twist his left ankle after banging into Pitt’s Blake Hinson less than three minutes in. He had to be helped to the bench, but returned about six minutes later after getting taped and scored 14 points before the break.

Filipowski only played 15 minutes, leaving with 111/2 minutes remaining with Duke safely ahead by 32 points.

He said he was OK after the game as he spoke to reporters with his leg elevated on a chair and wrapped in ice.

“We will get him seen when we get to the hotel, but he looked pretty good to me when he got back out there,” Scheyer said.

Duke shot just 6 of 32 from 3-point range over its past two games, but matched that output in the first half with Filipowski making half of those. Overall, the Blue Devils were 13 of 18 from long range.

Even Lively joined in the fun, when the 7-foot-1 center known for his shot-blocking drained a 3 from the left corner to stretch the lead to 29 less than four minutes into the second half.

For Duke, it was a dominant effort from everyone on the Blue Devils roster.

Duke will face top-seeded and 14th-ranked Miami in today’s semifinals. The two teams split the season series with Duke winning 68-66 on Jan. 21 at Cameron Indoor Stadium and losing 81-59 at Miami on Feb. 6.

No. 14 Miami 74, Wake 72

GREENSBORO — Miami coach Jim Larrañaga breathed a sigh of relief, reiterating a popular saying this time of the year: “It’s about surviving and advancing.”

The Hurricanes did just that Thursday, barely.

Jordan Miller had 18 points and nine rebounds for No. 14 Miami, which held off a furious comeback by Wake Forest — down 18 points in the second half — to earn a 74-72 victory in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

ACC player of the year Isaiah Wong had 17 points and five assists and Norchad Omier had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Miami — the top seed for the first time since 2013 when the Hurricanes won the ACC title game.

Tyree Appleby had 24 points behind five 3s and Cameron Hildreth added 17 for ninth-seeded Wake Forest (19-17).

“We were up 18, then all of sudden it is seven, then it’s five, then two and all of a sudden they’re shooting a 3 for the win,” Larrañaga said. “But that 3 misses and we win the game and we get to advance. So we are happy with where we are.”

Daivien Williamson, whose buzzer-beater beat Syracuse and effectively ended coach Jim Boeheim’s 47-year coaching career on Wednesday, missed a half-court heave at the buzzer that would have won the game.

“Every time I shoot, I think it’s going in, but it just didn’t fall,” Williamson said.

The Hurricanes (25-6) move on to Friday’s semifinals, where they’ll face the winner of No. 21 Duke vs. Pittsburgh game that was slated for Thursday afternoon.

The Hurricanes broke open a five-point game at halftime behind Wong and Miller.

Miller buried a 3-pointer from the left wing off a Wong feed, and Wong followed with a turnaround jumper from the foul line to push the lead to 13. A few moments later, Wong increased the lead to 17 when he knocked down a step-back 3 from the top of the key after Wake Forest big man Andrew Carr got caught in a defensive switch.

But Wake Forest refused to quit, clawing back to within six with 3:17 remaining behind a 11-2 run highlighted by 3-pointers from Williamson, Bobi Klintman and Appleby.

Wake Forest made three 3-pointers in the final minute, trimming the lead to 74-72 with 3.3 seconds left when Hildreth connected from the wing.

Wooga Poplar was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Williamson’s heave from half court at the buzzer hit the backboard and bounced away.

“It would have been a hell of a story if he could have made it with back-to-back buzzer beaters for wins,” Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said.

Forbes’ team hurt itself shooting 7 of 14 from the foul line and fell to 6-7 in games decided by three points or less this season.

Wong was huge throughout the game, creating open shots for his teammates and scoring himself, like the floater with 49 seconds left that proved to be the winning basket.

“I feel like I have a lot of experience going into this tournament with this being my fourth time,” Wong said. “I feel like it helps the team more, just being composed and taking the pressure.”


Wake Forest: Came into the tournament having lost four of their five final regular-season games and couldn’t put together the run they needed in Greensboro despite a great comeback. “The next step is to finish in the top four in the league and play on Friday in the tournament and to win some games in the NCAA Tournament,” Forbes said. “We are definitely on the upswing with this program.”

Miami: The Hurricanes can beat a team in so many ways and proved that against Wake Forest. Wong was surgical in setting up teammates for quality shots when he wasn’t scoring nearly at will. Miami has to do a better job of making clutch free throws down the stretch to close out games.


Wake Forest: Awaits a likely NIT bid.

Miami: Will play Friday in the ACC semifinals.


VCU ousts Davidson in Atlantic 10

NEW YORK (AP) — David Shriver, Jamir Watkins and Adrian Baldwin Jr. scored 11 points apiece to help lead top-seed VCU over eight-seed Davidson on Thursday in a 71-53 victory in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

Watkins added six rebounds and three blocks for the Rams (25-7). Shriver was 3 for 6 from beyond the arc. The Rams picked up their sixth straight victory.

Grant Huffman had 10 points and five assists for the Wildcats (16-16). David Skogman also scored 10 points for Davidson. Sam Mennenga had nine points and eight rebounds.

VCU took the lead with 13:23 left in the first half and did not relinquish it. Baldwin led his team in scoring with eight points in the first half to help put them up 37-28 at the break. VCU extended its lead to 54-39 during the second half, fueled by a 7-0 scoring run.

East Carolina beats South Florida 73-58 in AAC

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — RJ Felton and Jaden Walker scored 22 points each in East Carolina’s 73-58 victory over South Florida on Thursday in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

Felton added seven rebounds for the Pirates (16-16). Walker added six rebounds and 10 assists. Ezra Ausar was 6 of 8 from the free throw line to finish with 10 points.

The Bulls (14-18) were led by Tyler Harris, who posted 26 points and two steals. Sam Hines Jr. added eight points, six rebounds and three blocks for South Florida. Russel Tchewa also had seven points and 11 rebounds.

East Carolina took the lead with 3:32 left in the first half and did not relinquish it. The score was 41-33 at halftime, with Walker racking up 15 points.


Charlotte comes up short to Middle Tennessee

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Savannah Wheeler scored 28 points, Alexis Whittington added 17 and No. 25 Middle Tennessee won its eighth straight game with an 84-53 victory over ninth-seeded Charlotte on Thursday in the Conference USA Tournament.

Middle Tennessee (26-4) advanced to the Friday semifinals for the fourth straight season and eighth time in nine years.

Middle Tennessee pulled away midway through the second quarter after a 18-2 run. Wheeler started the run with a three-point play and she added four more points as Charlotte went without a field goal for nearly five minutes. Whittington made 3-pointers on back-to-back MTSU possessions and Kseniya Malashka added a third in less than a minute for a 40-21 lead.

The Lady Raiders led 46-25 at the break behind 16 points from Wheeler. Charlotte didn’t make a field goal in the final five minutes of the third quarter as MTSU extended its lead to 28 points.

Courtney Blakely had 11 points for Middle Tennessee. Whittington and Wheeler each finished with four 3-pointers. Wheeler reached 20-plus points for the eighth time this season.

Mya McGraw scored 14 points, Keanna Rembert had 12 and Dazia Lawrence added 10 for Charlotte (12-19). Charlotte went 1 of 14 from distance.

The Lady Raiders also swept the regular-season series, winning both games by an average of 24.5 points.