COLUMBIA, S.C. (WNCN) – Duke, despite a slow start Friday night, hammered North Dakota State 85-62 in its first-round game in the NCAA Tournament.
The top-seeded Blue Devils found themselves down 12-5 less than five minutes in. The Bison had a marginal lead with 2:35 until the intermission, but Duke got a 3-pointer from Jordan Goldwire to help it to a 31-27 halftime lead.
“We didn’t start the game the way we have played,” said coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“We weren’t really playing Duke basketball. That first half was horrible,” added star freshman Zion Williamson. “Coach came, he didn’t really yell at us. He just told us, ‘Guys, this is March Madness.'”
Duke began the second half on a 23-5 surge to take over the game. Williamson had 13 points in that span, which took less than six minutes. He finished with 25. RJ Barrett had a double-double with 26 points and 14 rebounds.
The Blue Devils advance to Sunday’s second round to play No. 9 Central Florida.
North Dakota State was led by Vinnie Shahid’s 20 points.