No. 1 seed Duke rolls to 96-61 win

Blue Devils blitz Ala. State

Mouton scores 23, leads Texas to 66-49 victory over Princeton

Ncaa Regional

Atlanta

March 19, 2004|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Alabama State rooting section raced down the steps of the RBC Center early last night, trying to razz the Duke players as they warmed up for their first- round game of the NCAA tournament.

The Blue Devils barely blinked.

Except for the first four minutes, when the Hornets showed some flair and fearlessness in matching Duke point-for-point on the scoreboard, the game was typical of most between a No. 16 seed and a No. 1 seed.

In other words, a blowout.

Despite playing point guard Chris Duhon sparingly because of the bruised ribs he suffered in Sunday's overtime loss to Maryland in the ACC tournament championship game, and despite shooting guard J.J. Redick's shooting slump continuing for all but a brief burst to open the second half, Duke rolled, 96-61.

Duhon started, but he played only 16 minutes and didn't score.

"I just wanted to go out there and get a feel for the pain level and see how much I can do." Duhon said.

Redick played more, but he didn't take a shot for the first 13 minutes and missed all four shots he took in the first half. Redick wound up with 14 points, all in the second half.

It didn't matter because the rest of the Blue Devils (28-5) were on top of their games, and Alabama State couldn't compete at Duke's level. An early 7-7 tie quickly gave way to a blowout, as the Blue Devils opened a 48-27 lead at halftime.

Sophomore forward Shavlik Randolph came off the bench to score a team-high 20, while junior guard Daniel Ewing finished with 19 points. Sophomore center Shelden Williams added 16 points and nine rebounds, and freshman forward Luol Deng added 15 points and five rebounds.

"We're a team that has a lot of weapons." Williams said.

But even Williams admitted he was happy to see Redick hit his first two shots of the second half, and three of his first four, all three-pointers. While the sophomore guard wound up 5-for-13 overall, including 4-for-12 on threes, it was a sign that he might be emerging from his recent slump.

"It's a big relief when J.J. is hitting his shots." said Williams. "If he gets off early [tomorrow], that will help us."

The defeat ended the fantasy of a first-ever upset by a bottom seed over a top seed, but it provided some memories for Alabama State (16-15) senior forward Xavier Oliver, who had a couple of thunderous dunks, and senior guard Malcolm Campbell, who finished with a game-high 26 points.

The reality for the Blue Devils is that their game tomorrow against the winner of last night's matchup between eighth-seeded Seton Hall and ninth-seeded Arizona will be much tougher, and that Duke will need Redick to come out with a clear mind and a smooth jumper.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski alternated last night between admonishing Redick for passing up open shots and encouraging him to keep shooting.

"I just told him and the team that we didn't become a No. 1 seed and have the year we had with him not shooting." the coach said. "J.J."s been a great player for us all year. I told him that he needed to shoot and not put so much pressure on himself that every shot has to go on."

Said Redick: "He told me at halftime that he believed in me. I was being a bit of a mental head case out there in the first half."

Texas 66, Princeton 49: Brandon Mouton scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half, fueling the Longhorns" victory over the Tigers in the first round in Denver.

Texas (24-7), the No. 3 seed in the Atlanta Regional, will face the Air Force-North Carolina winner tomor row.

Royal Ivey had 15 points and Brian Boddicker 14 for Texas, making its sixth straight NCAA tournament ap pearance. Princeton (20-8), the No. 14 seed, got 16 points from Will Venable.

Texas outshot Princeton 60 percent to 35 percent in the second half, outscoring the Tigers 44-24 over the final 20 minutes, and the Longhorns did their damage early.

Trailing 27-22 just a minute into the half, Texas mounted a 24-6 run to take control.

Texas hit its first four three-point shots of the half.

Mouton and Kenton Paulino hit back-to-back three-pointers. Mouton added a layup and a three-pointer, and Paulino had another three- pointer. After a three-point play by Brad Buckman, Mouton hit still another three-pointer and tacked on a layup for a 46-33 lead with 11:42 remaining.

Princeton got no closer than eight points after that.

Judson Wallace, Princeton's leading scorer and rebounder who was in foul trouble in the second half, had back- to-back layups to trim it to 56-48 with 3:45 left. But Ivey responded with a three-point play, and Mouton added two free throws.

Princeton, which saw its nine-game winning streak end, shot only 35 percent, including 19 percent (5-for-26) from three-point range.

Princeton hit only one of its first nine shots as Texas jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but the Longhorns then went into a scoring drought.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Regional highlights

Top performer: Brandon Mouton scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half of Texas' win over Princeton.

Big surprise: Duke's J.J. Redick, the team's best shooter, missed his first five shots and was held scoreless in the first half. He then scored 14 in the second half.

He said it: "I just wanted to go out there and get a feel for the pain level and see how much I can do." - Duke's Chris Duhon, who played with bruised ribs

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