x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Singler sets tone for Duke

Duke and Syracuse, the two top-seeded teams, registered big wins to advance to the second round of the NCAA basketball tournament.

Kyle Singler of the Duke Blue Devils, in white, tries to shoot past Tavaris Washington, the Arkansas-Pine Bluff guard.
Kyle Singler of the Duke Blue Devils, in white, tries to shoot past Tavaris Washington, the Arkansas-Pine Bluff guard.

Duke and Syracuse, the two top-seeded teams, registered big wins to advance to the second round of the NCAA basketball tournament on Friday. Duke's Blue Devils, the No 1 side in the South Regional, crushed Arkansas-Pine Bluff 73-44, while Syracuse, the top seeds in the West Regional, beat Vermont 79-56.

"We wanted to set the tone for the tournament," Jon Scheyer, the Duke guard, said. "It was good to get a convincing win and just blow it out there in the second half." Kyle Singler, the forward, led the Blue Devils with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Duke will take on the eight-seeded California, the 77-62 winners over Louisville. Five different players scored in double figures in Syracuse's decisive win over Vermont with Wes Johnson leading the way on 18.

Their second-round opponents will be Gonzaga, the No 8 seeds, who advanced with a 67-60 victory over Florida State. Cornell provided the day's biggest upset. The 12th-seeded Big Red stunned Temple, the fifth seeds, 78-65 in the East Regional to give the Ivy League their first NCAA Tournament victory in 12 years. "I don't think Temple had played a team like us," said Geoff Reeves, the senior guard .

The win was the first in five NCAA tournaments for Cornell while Temple lost in the opening round for the third consecutive year. They will meet Wisconsin, the fourth seeds, in the second round. Wisconsin turned back Wofford 53-49 in their opener. West Virginia cruised to a 77-50 victory over Morgan State in the East and Ohio State powered by California-Santa Barbara 68-51 in the Midwest. * With agencies