Duke Storms Past Villanova with 17-Goal Outburst


Tewaaraton finalist Justin Guterding (14) gets some love from teammates after one of his two goals Saturday that pushed his career total to 204, two shy of the NCAA record.

Would Bucknell, Ohio State or Rutgers have offered more resistance to the Duke juggernaut Saturday? The world will never know.

The fourth-seeded Blue Devils finished the first half on a seven-goal run and never looked back in a 17-11 win over Villanova in an NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse tournament first-round game Saturday. Duke (14-3) advances to the NCAA quarterfinals next weekend in Annapolis, Md., where it will meet the winner of Sunday’s matchup between Johns Hopkins and Georgetown.

The Wildcats, who started the season strong but struggled down the stretch, eked into the tournament over the aforementioned teams, with many lacrosse pundits bemoaning their at-large selection and the data-driven process by which the NCAA committee arrived at it. They hung with Duke early before the Blue Devils’ flurry put them in an 11-4 hole at halftime.

Villanova responded in the third quarter by scoring three consecutive goals to pull within 11-7, but Sean Lowrie’s tally with 3.6 seconds left in the period returned the momentum back to the Blue Devils.

The Wildcats pulled within four again in the fourth quarter, but Duke then enjoyed a four-goal spurt in just 34 seconds en route to pushing its lead to 17-9 with less than 10 minutes remaining. 

Duke attackman Joe Robertson and midfielder Brad Smith totaled five points apiece. Nakeie Montgomery added a career-high three goals. Brian Smyth won 23 of 28 faceoffs and scooped 16 ground balls to go with a goal and an assist.

Tewaaraton finalist Justin Guterding scored two goals to push his career total to 204, two shy of Zack Greer’s NCAA record of 206.  Adding an assist Saturday, Guterding is up to 99 points on the season, tops in Division I.

"One of the key elements of today's game was that we scored 17 goals and Justin Guterding had three points," Blue Devils coach John Danowski said. "We were able to get to 17 because a lot of guys made contributions. Having two freshmen contribute is terrific. We always say at this time of year, you're no longer freshmen. This is game No. 17. You've played a lot of Division I lacrosse games. You're now a sophomore."

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