15 of 37 from the three-point line was Duke’s downfall on Friday afternoon in Raleigh.
Almost a virtual home game and outside of a small cluster of orange colored shirts marked with the words, “THE MERCER WAY”–it was rebounding and free-throw shooting that added another mid-major to this impressive upset list of 14 seeds beating a 3 seed:
Cleveland State, 1986
A 20-8 run by the Mercer Bears sealed Duke’s fate, albeit they were outrebounded 33-24. Forward Jakob Gollon led the way with 20 points.
However, the telling stat was the overall field goal shooting:
Mercer was 25 of 45 for 55.6 percent (how about that deep football pass in the closing minute?)
Duke overall was 22 of 62 for 35.5%, Jabari Parker was held to 4 of 14 shooting, 6 of 7 from the line for 14 points.
Next up, either UMass or Tennessee. Just like a few of the seniors told Rachel Nichols after the game, rebounding will be key. Don’t let the opposition shoot a bunch of threes.
More to come later.