There were no featured matchups between the top 25 teams on the opening day of college basketball, but there were plenty of big storylines and some drama to follow in a new season on Monday. One of the most exciting matches of the night came at the Cameron Indoor Stadium, where world no. 7 Duke faced — and handled — some adversity in its first game since legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski retired.
The Blue Devils got off to a slow start with their first two freshmen, but eventually cruised to a 71–44 victory over Jacksonville in John Scheer’s head coaching debut. With No. 2 Derek Lively and No. 3 Tarrick Whitehead sidelined with injuries, slightly less heralded freshman Mark Mitchell led Duke with 18 points.
Junior point guard Jeremy Roach, the only rotation player to return to last season’s Final Four team program, added 16 points, six rebounds and four assists, while freshman Kyle Filipowski contributed 10 points, 12 rebounds. and two caps. Mitchell and Filipowski were five-star prospects in their own right and looked good, while fellow freshman Tyrese Proctor struggled in his debut.
Duke led 25-21 in the first half against Jacksonville, ranked second in the Atlantic Sun, but the Blue Devils closed the half on a 14-2 run to take control and never looked back. Blue blood companions no. No. 4 Kentucky and No. 16 Villanova also overcame a lack of key players to post double-digit wins on opening night.
The Wildcats beat Howard, 95-63, with national player of the year Oscar Shipway, senior point guard Zahvir Wheeler and second-year rotation player Tymion Collins. Villanova outscored La Salle 81-68 in coach Kyle Neptune’s debut, despite missing key rookie Cam Whitmore and veteran Justin Moore, who is expected to miss the opening weeks of the season.
Things were a bit tense for the two qualified teams on opening night. No. 14 TCU trailed Arkansas-Pine Bluff by 11 at halftime. While the Horned Frogs avoided disaster, their performance against a low-profile program entered the past three seasons at 15-71.
No. 9 Creighton surprisingly battled back on a 16-3 run to begin his second season at the Division I level with a 72-60 victory over the St. Thomas program. The Blue Jays were 8-for-34 from 3-point range, but a pair of key layups by South Dakota State transfer Baylor Scheirman sparked the late run from him.
However, there were surprises outside the top 25. Stetson defeated Florida State 83-74 as the Hatters snapped an 18-game losing streak against the Seminoles. FSU hasn’t lost at home to Stetson since 1953.
In another upset, Sam Houston sophomore Lamar Wilkerson buried his fifth 3-pointer with four seconds left in the game to give the Bearcats a 52-51 victory over Oklahoma.
College Basketball Results, Rankings
No. 5 Baylor 117, Mississippi Valley State 53 — Check
No. 4 Kentucky 95, Howard 63 — Check
No. 22 Michigan 75, PFW 66— Check
No. 16 Villanova 81, La Salle 68 – Check
No. 7 Duke 71, Jacksonville 44 — Check
No. 13 Indiana 88, Morehead State 53 — Check
No. 11 Tennessee 75, Tennessee Tech 43 — Check
No. 15 Auburn 70, George Mason 52 — Check
No. 3 Houston 83, Northern Colorado 36 — Check
No. 10 Arkansas 76, State of North Dakota 58 — Check
Memphis 76, Vanderbilt 67 — Check
No. 5 Kansas 89, Omaha 64 — Check
No. 9 Creighton 72, Santo Tomas 60 — Check
No. 1 North Carolina 69, UNC-Wilmington 56 — Check
No. 2 Gonzaga 104, North Florida 63 — Check
No. 12 Texas 72, UTEP 57 — Check
Check out the full opening night scoreboard
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College basketball scores, rankings, highlights: Duke’s John Schaer wins in debut, TCU survives upset