JJ O’Brien scored 18 points, Dwayne Polee II added 15 points on five three-pointers against his former team and San Diego State defeated St. John’s 76-64 on Friday night in their opening-round game of the NCAA tournament.

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — San Diego State coach Steve Fisher never expected his team to shoot 22 three-pointers, particularly against a team they held a big height advantage against like St. John’s.

But then Fisher figured if it was working, why change?

“The threes we got were wide open and were taken by guys who can shoot and make them,” Fisher said.

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JJ O’Brien scored 18 points, Dwayne Polee II added 15 points on five three-pointers against his former team and the Aztecs defeated St. John’s 76-64 on Friday night in their opening-round game of the NCAA tournament.

Skylar Spencer added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Aztecs (27-8), who will face the South’s top seed, Duke, on Sunday.

The Aztecs never trailed in the second half and improved to 6-4 in NCAA tournament play since 2011.

Polee, who transferred from St. John’s early in his college career, made national headlines when he collapsed on the court during a game against UC Riverside in December because of an irregular heartbeat, so his big night was extra rewarding.

He was 5 of 7 on three-pointers.

“My teammates found me in a position where I could shoot the ball,” Polee said. “I was open because we have a lot of great players on this team that allowed me to get open.”

Sir’Dominic Pointer had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and D’Angelo Harrison added 18 points for St. John’s (21-12), which failed in its quest to win its first tournament game since 2000.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke’s youngsters saw plenty in their first NCAA tournament game: the buzz of a fast start to a big lead, the challenge of putting away an overmatched opponent who keeps playing hard, even an irate Hall of Fame coach.

Quinn Cook scored 22 points to help the top-seeded Blue Devils get off to a torrid start and beat Robert Morris 85-56.

Jahlil Okafor added 21 as the Blue Devils (30-4) wasted little time getting their offense revving, hitting their first seven shots and 12 of 15. Duke led by double figures from there, with the night mostly about learning how to play in March for a team with four freshmen among its eight scholarship players.

“We’ve played in some big-time games and earned a spot here in the NCAA tournament,” said Cook, a senior. “I just told them to be themselves.”

That’s not to say everything went perfectly.

Okafor blew a reverse dunk in the second half, prompting coach Mike Krzyzewski to spring up and point to junior reserve Marshall Plumlee to replace his star freshman big man. He burned a timeout at the 14:53 mark, and then animatedly addressed his team from the edge of his chair in the huddle.

“I know them well enough: I feel like I can get emotional, funny, serious and they’ll respond because of the relationships that have been built,” Krzyzewski said. “And it’s my responsibility to spontaneously act when I do have a feel, when I do see something and for them to react to me. And they’ve done that.”

Robert Morris — the No. 16 seed that had to win a First Four game to get here — showed plenty of fight and kept hanging around for the first part of the second half. The Colonials (20-15) twice pulled within 10, but the Blue Devils put the game out of reach with a suddenly dominant 12-0 burst.