MINNEAPOLIS — Just about everything Zion Williamson did at Duke created a highlight or headline in a spectacle of a season.

The soaring dunks.

The open-court moves more nimble than his 6-foot-7, 285-pound frame should allow.

Even the freak occurrence of one of his feet tearing through its shoe in a fall to the court.

Handling all that attention became maybe the biggest lesson for the freshman, who quickly became the face of college basketball and the game’s biggest star in years – then fittingly finished Friday as The Associated Press men’s player of the year.

“I was comfortable with it because you don’t really have a choice,” Williamson said. “I think if you try to force it out, then it’s going to bother you. … My mom just told me to look at it as a lot of kids would wish to be in my position, so if it does bother me, I just think about it like that.”

Williamson claimed 59 of 64 votes from AP Top 25 voters before the NCAA tournament. Freshman teammate RJ Barrett earned two votes as a fellow first-team All-American, while De’Andre Hunter of Virginia, Cassius Winston of Michigan State  and Ja Morant of Murray State each earned one vote.

Williamson had hoped to be in Minneapolis preparing for Saturday’s national semifinals like Hunter and Winston. But the Blue Devils fell to Winston’s Spartans in the Elite Eight as the top overall seed.

“I was just telling (teammates) don’t let nobody tell you this season was a disappointment, because people have got to understand it’s March Madness,” he said, adding: “I mean, winning the championship is not a cakewalk.”

NEBRASKA: Fred Hoiberg, the new coach, will be required to pay the university between $5 million and $11 million if he leaves to take a college coaching job in the first five years of his seven-year contract.

GEORGIA STATE: The school hired Tennessee assistant Rob Lanier to replace Ron Hunter as coach. Hunter, whose son R.J. played this season for the Maine Red Claws, was hired as head coach at Tulane.


BATES 6, UM-FARMINGTON 0: Kyle Carter had an RBI single, then scored on a wild pitch to put the Bobcats (7-9) ahead 2-0 in the second inning against the Beavers (4-10) at Lewiston.

Bates increased the lead to 5-0 in the fourth, when Christian Beal had an RBI double before run-scoring singles by Justin White and Antonio Jareno.

Five Bates pitchers combined on a two-hitter.


BATES 9, COLBY 3: Janell Sato hit a two-run homer in the third inning and a two-run double in the fourth to lead the Bobcats (6-13) over the Mules (2-11) in a NESCAC opener at Waterville.

Julia Panepinto opened the scoring with a solo homer for Bates. Laura Powell hit a two-run homer for Colby in the fourth.

TUFTS 5, BOWDOIN 4: Jamie Stevens homered in the seventh inning to lift the Jumbos (18-3, 4-0 NESCAC) over the Polar Bears (12-8, 1-3) at Brunswick.

Tufts took a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by Emma Della Volpe. Bowdoin tied it in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Ruby Siltanen.

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