PORTLAND, Oregon. After shaky offensive play in the first round of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament, Duke coach John Scheier wanted Jeremy Roach to return to a more instinctive game, especially in the offensive part of the floor.
Roach responded with a season-high 21 points, Mark Mitchell added 16, and No. 8 Duke weathered Xavier’s comeback in the second half to win 71-64 on Friday.
The Blue Devils (6-1) went into the championship game thanks to the performance of their outstanding defender and another powerful defense. Roach was one point short of his career high, and the Blue Devils recovered from an unexpectedly difficult victory over Oregon State in the first round of the tournament.
Roach was 3 of 14 shots against Oregon State and the Blue Devils scored a season-high 54 points. He made 9 of 15 shots and made five assists against Javier.
“A lot falls on your shoulders, so you can rethink a little,” Scheier said. “What I love about him today is that he just was him. And when he’s like that, he’s the best security guard in the country for me.
The Musketeers (4-2) have scored two points in the last five minutes and missed their last four shot attempts. Souley Boame scored 23 points and Adam Kunkel 13. Kunkel did not play the last 11 minutes after he fell hard and committed a foul.
Xavier’s top scorer Jack Nudge was 1 of 13 shots and finished with five points.
“Jack worked very hard. He really did. He was ready to play. He just had one of those nights where the ball didn’t hit the basket,” Xavier’s coach Sean Miller said.
At the same time, Miller was frustrated with what he called the “gap” he saw in his team.
“There were bits and pieces of the game where I thought we were reflecting our style, the way we try to play, whether it’s defense or offense. But there were too many segments of the game, if not most of the game, where we had our own way at times,” Miller said.
Mitchell scored seven points in the opening minutes of the second half, including a couple of layups, and he hit a three-pointer from the wing to give Duke a 49–36 lead, the most in the game.
That’s when Xavier’s return began. The Musketeers hit three points several times, but each time Duke answered. A miss from Desmond Claude sent Xavier to 63-60 with 5:51 left, but Ryan Young scored for Duke and Xavier missed another goal.
Roach’s jumper with 2:40 left extended Duke’s lead to 69–62.
“We like to play inside out, but I mean when guys throw punches, it just opens up for everyone else,” Roach said. “Just try to keep hitting consistently and I think we’ll be fine.”
Kyle Filipovski scored 12 points and was not Duke’s top scorer for the first time in five games.
THE BIG PICTURE
Duke: The dominance of the Blue Devils on the shields has finally come to an end. Duke outscored each of his first six opponents by double figures, the longest tally in school history. But Xavier’s inside size limited Duke to a 33-32 advantage on the glass. The Blue Devils had 12 second chance points.
Xavier: The Musketeers played an Atlantic Coast Conference team for the first time since defeating Virginia Tech in last year’s NIT Season Tip-Off. This season, Xavier lost to Indiana 0-2 this season. The Musketeers will play another ranked opponent in Sunday’s game for third place.
The Duke will face the winner Gonzaga-Perdue in a championship match on Sunday, with Xavier playing the underdog.
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas. Tennessee’s players proved to be determined defenders and ruthless rebounders, as well as being so tough that the reigning national champions had little chance of settling in.
That was enough to give the 22nd-place Volunteers a title of their own, as well as a plan that coach Rick Barnes hopes they will follow for the rest of the year.
Santiago Vescovi scored 20 points as Tennessee trailed third-place Kansas in Friday’s 64–50 victory in the championship game at Battle 4 Atlantis, snapping the Jayhawks’ 17-game winning streak.
Vescovi hit five 3-pointers as the MVP of the Volunteer Tournament (5-1), which dominated the points, overcame their own turnover issues and kept the Jayhawks working on clean looks. And for the third time in as many days, Tennessee won without top scorer Josiah-Jordan James (knee soreness).
That may be why reserve guard Zakai Zeigler, who had 14 points and four steals, showed up wearing sunglasses at the post-game press conference after volunteers danced and yelled during the awards ceremony on the court.
“We know that if you can’t stop the person in front of you, you won’t stand a chance of winning,” Zeigler said, adding, “We just love playing defense and we’re just good at it. It.”
The Vols held off the Jayhawks with 32.1% shooting, harassing them with size and length around the rim. They also intercepted the ball right outside the Jayhawks with the 5ft 9in Ziegler in the lead, to the point that he refused to let go of the ball and exchanged words with forward Jalen Wilson 6-8.
Ziegler’s evening included a three-pointer that broke the shot clock at the 7-minute mark and extended Tennessee’s lead to 56–38. He followed up with another big one from the right at 4:42 from the left after Kansas closed within 11.
Wilson and Joseph Yesefu each scored 14 points to lead the Jayhawks 6-1, who shot 28.6% in the first half and never warmed up. They hit 5 of 21 3-pointers throughout a tough night, from losing starting quarterback Dajuan Harris to fouls 9 minutes before failing to keep the Wolves off the glass (45-27).
“Today we played a team that was older and more mature and obviously played stronger and harder,” said Kansas coach Bill Self. “We didn’t handle the situation as well as I hope a balanced team can.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Tennessee: The Volunteers opened the tournament with a win over Butler and then defeated Southern California in overtime in Thursday’s semi-finals. This time around, Tennessee played up front all the way to their first title in three attempts at the Atlantis resort.
“I think the main thing for the whole week was to stay together during difficult times, that’s what you should be doing,” Vescovi said.
Kansas: The Jayhawks’ first two days in the Bahamas were tough. First, the battle with the state of North Carolina reached the last minutes. This was followed by Thursday’s overtime victory over Wisconsin, when Bobby Pettiford Jr. pulled the ball back in the last second. But this time, they never looked into any attack stream with their smaller lineup.
“I feel like if we could get them out of the way, and not just leave them standing there waiting to contest a layoff, that might give us a better chance of finishing at the ring,” Wilson said.
Tennessee held off three of their Atlantis rivals with 36.9% shooting and 15-of-59 (25.4%) from three-point range. The Volunteers also averaged +9 rebounding points, with Jonas Aidoo (nine) leading the top five with at least six rebounds against Kansas.
“You can be a good defensive team, but you can’t be great if you give them second and third shots,” Barnes said.
In addition to the Harris foul trouble, the Jayhawks played most of the time without Pettiford, who busted out midway through the first half with a right foot grab.
Afterwards, Self said he would be out “for a while” due to a hamstring strain.
Tennessee: Volunteers return home to host McNeese State on Wednesday.
Kansas: Jayhawks take on Texas South on Monday.
NASSAU, Bahamas. Gideon George scored 21 and joined Jackson Robinson and Rudy Williams for 15 in overtime as the Cougars pulled back from a 23-point deficit to beat Dayton 79-75 in overtime on Friday.
BYU’s victory came in the seventh place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
George’s 3-pointer with 2:19 left in regulation gave BYU (4-3) their first lead after Dayton scored the first 10 points of the game to lead 32-9 with six minutes left in the first half.
Mike Sharavyams’ basket returned the lead to Dayton, but George’s free throw sent the game into overtime with a minute left.
Dayton scored the first points in overtime, but Robinson’s 3-pointer gave BYU the lead for good in the middle of the extra period.
Robinson had 14 points, Dallin Hall 12 and Williams 11, and they joined George in double figures for BYU.
Daron Holmes II scored 21 points and Sharavyams 15 for Dayton (3-4). The Flyers lost starting quarterbacks Kobe Elvis and Malachi Smith to lower body injuries in the second half, with Smith only seconds left in regulation.
PORTLAND, Oregon. – Moses Wood scored 16 points as Portland defeated Villanova 83-71 on Friday at the Phil Knight Invitational.
Villanova (2-4) lost three games in a row, including an overtime loss to Iowa State on Thursday, dropping below .500 for the first time since March 7, 2012.
Simple Vasily Vucinic for 4:16 before the end of the first half forever brought Portland forward. By the break, the Pilots were eight points ahead and scored the first 10 points in the second half.
Wood added six rebounds and three blocked shots (5-3) to the pilots. Tyler Robertson scored 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting (1-of-5 from 3-point range) and added seven rebounds and eight assists. Christian Sjolund scored 14 points and shot 5 of 7 (2 of 3 from three-pointers).
Caleb Daniels finished with 18 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats. Villanova also received 14 points from Jordan Longino. Brandon Slater scored 11 points.
PORTLAND, Oregon. Caleb Gryll followed South Dakota’s T.J. Otzelberger to UNLV and has now returned to Iowa, hoping…