ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The second-seeded Duke Blue Devils became the fifth Atlantic Coast Conference team to make the second round of the NCAA tournament, defeating No. 15 seed Texas Southern last night, 82-70, in the opening round of the Southeast Regional at the ThunderDome.
It was a clean sweep for the ACC, which sent Maryland and Wake Forest into the second round on Thursday and added North Carolina and Virginia earlier yesterday. Duke had the least stressful draw of the five, though no one would have believed that before Liberty played North Carolina tough for 30 minutes at the USAir Arena.
The Blue Devils never were seriously challenged. Sophomore guard Chris Collins scored 17 points in the first half as Duke took a 12-point lead into halftime. Duke stretched it to 22 and then jogged into a second-round game against the winner of last night's late game between Seton Hall and Michigan State.
Texas Southern (19-11) whittled away at the big deficit during the final minutes, but it still was a relatively light workout for Blue Devils (24-5), who came back from a tough ACC tournament loss to Virginia.
"I thought we played well throughout," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We had 17 and 20-point leads. They made a push at the end, but I thought we were always in control of the basketball game. We're not accustomed to blowing people out. They were more accustomed to that. They have been blowing people out. We were playing a very confident basketball team."
Collins scored a game-high 20 points, including five of eight three-point attempts while the Tigers were keying on All-American forward Grant Hill, who scored 11. Forward Antonio Lang added 18 points inside and three other Blue Devils scored in double figures.
"I like the way our team went about it," Krzyzewski said. "We had five guys in double figures and the sixth guy had eight. I like it when we play like that, instead of Grant [Hill] doing all the scoring."
Texas Southern center Reginald Whitaker 6 feet 8, 285 pounds -- led the Tigers with 17, but it was not enough to keep the Tigers' 13-game winning streak alive.
Mich. State 84, Seton Hall 73
Seton Hall jumped on top by nine points in the early minutes of last night's late game, but the seventh-seeded Michigan State Spartans (20-11) stormed back to take the lead at halftime and run up a tremendous lead in the early minutes of the second half.
The 10th-seeded Pirates (18-12), who were ousted in the second round last year by Western Kentucky, went the first nine minutes of the second half without a field goal to go down by as many as 19 points. They made three straight three-pointers to get back into the game, but never completely recovered from the lengthy drought.
Spartan guard Shawn Respert led all scorers with 25 points and Eric Snow added 14 for Michigan State, which earned a second-round date with second-seeded Duke. Senior center Arturas Karnishovas led the Pirates with 23.
Kentucky 83, Tenn. State 70
It appeared for a time that 14th-seeded Tennessee State had put together the perfect game plan. Keep Kentucky inside the three-point line and keep its offense under control. But to hear Wildcats coach Rick Pitino tell it, that was all by design.
Kentucky supposedly lives and dies with the three-point shot, but the Wildcats took the game inside and took control midway through the second half to overcome a mediocre first-half performance from the field.
The Wildcats shot just 29.6 percent in the first half and missed eight of their 10 three-point attempts to go into halftime leading by only a point. They continued the physical play after the break and began to pull away midway through the second period.
Center Andre Riddick and forward Rodrick Rhodes each scored 22 as Kentucky attacked the lane and neutralized Tennessee State's intimidating senior center, Carlos Rogers.
"We felt the best way to take it to the shot-blocker was to take it right into his face," Pitino said. "Andre had a great game and we played great defense against Carlos."
Rogers scored just 15 against multiple coverage and showed his frustration with an outburst in the second half that earned him a technical foul. He took just 10 shots and committed 11 turnovers.
"There was a lot of emotion out there," Rogers said. "If you had three people on you all the time, I'm sure you'd get uptight yourself."
The day's most physical game nearly erupted in a brawl when Wildcats guard Travis Ford was slammed down by Tigers reserve Royce Grunnell with 10 minutes left, but Pitino quickly reminded his players that anyone ejected also would have to sit out the second round.
Marquette 81, SW Louisiana 59
Sixth-seeded Marquette (23-8) went on a 19-0 run early in the second half to blow open a tight game and earn their first NCAA tournament victory in 12 years.
Power forward Damon Key scored a game-high 24 points and Roney Eford added 20 to carry the Warriors into a second-round matchup against Kentucky. Marquette had not won a tournament game since the Warriors defeated Evansville in a 1982 regional in Tulsa, Okla.
"I'm well aware of that," said fifth-year Warriors coach Kevin O'Neill. "I've been reminded of that 64,000 times since I took this job. I think it's a logical step for our program. . . . This is a good, solid basketball team that needed to take the next step."
Marquette dominated the inside game and took the Ragin' Cajuns (22-8) out of their offensive rhythm with a pivotal defensive switch in the second half. Southwestern Louisiana
had taken a three-point lead into halftime, but O'Neill went to a triangle-and-two defense to shut down the perimeter shooting of Cajuns guard Michael Allen.
Allen scored 14 from outside in the first half and finished with 23, but he was not a factor during the six-minute run that carried the Warriors to a 15-point lead with 11 minutes to go.
"Allen was hitting some big shots early in the game," said Warriors point guard Tony Miller.
First-round records for conferences that had three or more teams in the NCAA tournament:
Conference.. .. .. .. .. ... .. Record
Atlantic Coast .. .. .. .. .. ..5-0
Southeastern .. .. .. .. .. .. .3-0
Atlantic 10 .. .. .. .. .. .. ..3-0
Big Ten .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 5-1
Big Eight .. ... .. .. .. .. .. 3-1
Big East .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..4-2
Great Midwest .. .. .. .. .. .. 1-3
Pacific-10 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1-3