DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke and DePaul showcased their scoring strength in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Each is out to prevent the other from delivering a repeat performance in their second-round matchup tonight.
The second-seeded Blue Devils (28-6) and seventh-seeded Blue Demons (28-6) are among just 16 teams in Division I averaging at least 80 points per game.
DePaul ranks fourth in the nation in scoring, averaging 84.3 points per game. Led by Logansport’s Jasmine Penny, the Blue Demons have six players who average at least nine points per game.
“DePaul is an excellent team offensively,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “They’ve got a lot of weapons, they share the ball well, and they like to run.”
The Blue Demons have won 17 of their last 18 games, including the Big East tournament championship. They have scored at least 80 points on 21 occasions.
DePaul added to that total in the first round Saturday, advancing with a 104-100 victory over No. 10 seed Oklahoma in the highest scoring regulation game in tournament history. The Blue Demons are back in Cameron Indoor Stadium for the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. They lost to Oklahoma State in the first round last season, missing out on a chance to meet Duke.
“I definitely think we’re prepared to play against this level of competition,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. “We have to go out and do what we do. We have to play our game. And if we play our game, I think we can definitely make a game of this.”
Injuries have forced Duke to finish the season without all three of its point guards, but the team still ranks third nationally in field goal percentage. The Blue Devils shot 54 percent from the floor in their 87-45 victory over No. 15 seed Winthrop in the first round.