After a brief scare in the first half from 16-seed North Dakota State, Duke cruised to the second round by overwhelming the Bison in the second half, led by the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, Zion Williamson.
On Sunday, Duke faced a unique test in 8-seed UCF, where Williamson’s incredible athleticism would be countered by UCF’s 7’6 center Tacko Fall. It was an intriguing matchup on paper in that UCF’s strength was size and defending the rim, while Duke is the tournament’s worst three-point shooting team.
The result was a thriller that saw the top overall seed get a serious test from the Knights, led by Aubrey Dawkins, who was absolutely on fire from the field, hitting 12-of-18 field goal attempts including 5-of-7 from three-point range for 32 points — plus a thunderous alley-oop dunk.