PITTSBURGH — Marvin Bagley III flirted with a double-double and led all five Duke starters in double-figure scoring and the second-seeded Blue Devils rolled into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament – March Madness – with an 87-62 thump over the seventh-seeded Rhode Island on Saturday. Complete Box Scores
Bagley, the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and top forward, had 22 points on 8 of 10 shooting to go along with nine rebounds to lead Duke to a second-round victory at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
“After seeing these last couple games, these last few days of basketball, seeing what can happen, we have an idea that this tournament anything can happen,” Bagley said.
“We can’t look ahead. We’ve got to worry about now.”
Gary Trent Jr. finished with 18 points and made four 3-pointers to go with five rebounds, four assists and three steals, while fellow freshman Wendell Carter Jr. added 13 points and six rebounds for the Blue Devils, who were advancing to the Sweet 16 for the 26th time in program history.
Freshman guard Trevon Duval had 11 points and seven assists and senior captain Grayson Allen ended with 10 points for Duke 28-7) which will play either Michigan State or Syracuse in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Omaha, Nebraska on Friday.
Meanwhile, E.C. Matthews led Rhode Island with a game-high 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Jeff Dowtin added 10 points and nine assists and Jared Terrell finished with 10 points for the Rams (26-8), who never really threatened after the halfway mark in the opening half and trailed by as many as by 29 late in the second half.
“They (Duke) played and looked like an NBA team out there,” Rhode Island coach Danny Hurley said.
“They have the inside game, the 3-point game and then the length of that zone was really — it had us — we were just spooked.”
As a team, Rhode Island shot nearly 38 percent from the field on 25 of 63 shooting and went 6 for 19 from 3-pointers.
Duke made 10 of its 21 shots from 3-point range and shot almost 57 percent from the field.
The Blue Devils, who led 45-28 at the break, had 20 assists on 29 made baskets, outrebounded the Rams 36-29 and had a 36-28 advantage in points in the paint.