Healthy and hungry again, it became clear Saturday that opponents won’t stop top-ranked Duke this season unless they stop Elton Brand.
The 265-pound Brand scored 20 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds as the Blue Devils defeated Fairfield, 98-66, at Durham, N.C., spoiling the head coaching debut of former Duke assistant Tim O’Toole.
O’Toole was asked how difficult it was trying to defense the hulking 6-foot-8 sophomore.
“It’s nearly impossible, especially when you’ve got the other guys around him,” O’Toole said of Brand, who sat out 15 games last season because of a broken foot. “He’s as difficult as you’re going to find. One of the things about Elton is, he’s so light on his feet.”
The Blue Devils, who made a school-record 42 free throws, have won their last 17 openers.
No. 3 Stanford 76, UC Davis 49--Kris Weems of Stanford made two three-point baskets during a 13-3 run early in the second half that broke open a close game at Palo Alto.
The Cardinal, which has all five starters back from last season’s Final Four team, appeared rusty and inconsistent in the first half of its opener against the much smaller defending Division II national champion.
Mark Madsen had 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead Stanford, which held UC Davis to 30% shooting. Peter Sauer and Weems added 10 points apiece.
UC Davis, whose school-record 22-game winning streak ended, is 0-48 against Pacific 10 Conference schools, including a 0-12 record against Stanford.
No. 6, Maryland 113, Western Carolina 46--Obinna Ekezie scored 19 points and Steve Francis scored 17 in his Maryland debut as the Terrapins opened their season of high expectations at College Park, Md., with the biggest blowout in school history.
The 67-point victory topped the Terrapins’ 66-point rout of Morgan State in December 1994 and extended their string of nonconference home victories to 59, the second-longest active streak in the nation.
Laron Profit and Juan Dixon had 14 points apiece for Maryland, which led at halftime, 55-19.
No. 10 Utah 76, Azusa Pacific 47--Hanno Mottola scored 16 points and Alex Jensen added 14 as the Utes opened their season with a rout of the NAIA Cougars (1-1) at Salt Lake City.
Utah, coming off a season in which it reached the championship game of the NCAA tournament before losing to Kentucky, got 10 points each from Andre Miller, Phil Cullen, Jeremy Killion and Nate Althoff.
Azusa Pacific, ranked fifth in the NAIA preseason poll, was led by junior Jerome Joseph with 12 points. Kevin Daley, a transfer from UCLA, scored 10 for the Cougars, who fell behind, 31-6, in the first 10 minutes and never again got closer than 22 points.
No. 22 Indiana 76, Indiana State 70--Luke Recker scored 23 points and the Hoosiers (3-0) stormed back from a 19-point halftime deficit at Bloomington, Ind.
The Hoosiers trailed, 45-26, after making only 35% of their shots in the first half.
But Indiana rallied by making 58% after halftime and holding Indiana State (0-1) to 19% shooting in the last 20 minutes.
Providence 87, No. 23 Rhode Island 63--Jamel Thomas scored 30 points and the Friars (1-2) used a tenacious defense to overpower the error-prone Rams at Providence, R.I.
It was the worst defeat for the Rams (2-1) since Dec. 27, 1995, when Rhode Island lost to Syracuse, 92-66. The 24-point victory was Providence’s largest over Rhode Island since a 99-73 victory in February 1967.
Rhode Island’s highly touted sophomore, Lamar Odom, was held to five points, none in the second half. Odom averaged 19.5 points in the Rams’ first two games.
Rhode Island Coach Jim Harrick said he was disappointed with his team, saying Odom “needs to learn some things out there” and the team was “out of sync.”
“Sometimes you get highfalutin,” Harrick said. “They start thinking Final Four, they don’t have to practice, they don’t have to play hard.”
No. 25 Texas Christian 94, Oral Roberts 93--Marquise Gainous, who finished with 27 points and 16 rebounds, put back his own rebound with 3.4 seconds to play to give the Horned Frogs (2-1) the victory over the Titans (0-1) at Fort Worth, Texas.
Wisconsin 66, Loyola (Chicago) 29--Sean Mason scored 21 points to lead the Badgers past the Ramblers, who converted fewer than 26% of their field goals in Larry Farmer’s coaching debut.