DURHAM, N.C.—Duke junior Nakeie Montgomery and senior Brad Smith combined for 10 points to lead the second-seeded Blue Devils to a 12-11 victory over Richmond in the opening round of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament Sunday evening. The Spiders pulled within one in the last 30 seconds before Duke ran out the clock for the win.
Montgomery finished the day with three goals and two assists, while Smith added two goals and three assists. Overall, Duke had five different players with at least two goals. Montgomery, who has fared well in NCAA postseason action in his young career, has 13 points from 11 goals and two assists in five NCAA Tournament games.
“It wasn’t pretty, but you just have to win by one and you’re playing in another game,” said Smith, a team captain. “We have another week with the boys and that was the goal. Maybe it wasn’t as clean or as fundamental as we would have liked, but a win is a win. We’re one of eight teams left playing and that’s something to be proud of and be excited for.”
The fifth-ranked Blue Devils (12-4) will travel to Hofstra for the quarterfinal round to play Notre Dame or Johns Hopkins. The game will be May 18 at either noon or 2:30 p.m., on ESPNU.
Richmond (10-7) was in full control through the first 20 minutes of the game, sporting a 4-3 lead and having the better of possession time. Duke put just 2-of-9 shots on cage in the first period in comparison to the Spiders’ 4-of-6 percentage.
Trailing 4-3 after a Richmond goal at the 10:53 mark of the second quarter, Duke put the clamps on the Spider offense, holding it scoreless for the next 10:43. Offensively, the Blue Devils caught fire in that span, netting four goals in 1:29 to take a 7-4 lead.
Senior CJ Carpenter, just like he’s done this past month, sparked the spurt with a pair of goals, while Joey Manown had the other two tallies. Carpenter, with two goals tonight, pushed his total to 10 goals and two assists in the past four games after having just nine in the first nine games of the year.
Richmond refused to go away, answering with a 3-0 run to end the second and start the third and tie the game 7-7. Tate Gallagher had two of the goals in that stretch and ended the game with four to lead the Spiders in goals.
The Blue Devils regrouped and with great play at the X from Joe Stein and the wings started to hit their stride offensively. After a defensive stand by Duke, Montgomery took a pass at midfield, cleared and then with just enough time and space beat Richmond goalie low to put Duke up 8-7. Joe Robertson got into the scoring action two minutes later with an assist from Smith to extend the lead back to two and the Blue Devils tacked on two man-up goals and a third tally from Montgomery to take their largest lead of the game, 12-7, into the fourth quarter.
The momentum quickly shifted in the fourth quarter as Richmond won early faceoffs and scored twice in the first 2:46 to make it 12-9. The Blue Devils stymied the Spiders for the next 10-plus minutes, but couldn’t find a way to score themselves, keeping Richmond within striking distance. The Spiders quickly took advantage of Duke miscues, scoring with 56 and 26 seconds remaining to make it a one-goal game.
Stein came on for his 21st faceoff of the day and won the draw as Duke ran out the clock to move on to its 17th quarterfinal appearance. Having taken just seven draws all season, Stein went 12-of-21 and picked up eight ground balls.
In goal, Turner Uppgren made eight saves and collected four ground balls. Richmond’s Jack Rusbuldt had 12 saves and four pickups. The Blue Devils held the 33-27 edge on the ground and a narrow 35-32 advantage in shots.