Duke defeats Creighton, 66-50, to advance to Sweet 16
Posted March 24, 2013
Updated March 25, 2013
Philadelphia — FINAL: Duke 66, Creighton 50: Duke advances to the Sweet 16 with a win over Creighton, the Blue Devils will face Michigan State Friday.
3:43 second half: Duke 54, Creighton 44: Creighton is fighting to take away some of the Blue Devils lead but Duke keeps striking back. Rasheed Sulaimon and Seth Curry lead Duke in scoring, each with 17 points.
6:41 second half: Duke 49, Creighton 38: Seth Curry is leading the Blue Devils charge over Creighton in the second half with 13 points this half.
9:37 second half: Duke 42, Creighton 32: Duke grabbed their largest lead with 10:29 minutes remaining in the game at 11. As time expires they have maintained the differential.
11:54 second half: Duke 39, Creighton 32: Duke's Ryan Kelly picked up his fourth foul forcing Mason Plumlee to re-enter the game. Seth Curry hit back-to-back shots to keep the Blue Devils ahead of Creighton.
15:53 second half: Duke 32, Creighton 27: Both teams are shooting worse in the second half so far. Duke's Mason Plumlee picked up his fourth foul two minutes into the half but Creighton's Doug McDermott, Gregory Echenique and Grant Gibbs all picked up their thirds as well.
Halftime: Duke 29, Creighton 23: Duke's Tyler Thornton capped the first half with a buzzer beater three-pointer to give the Blue Devils a 29-23 lead over Creighton at the break. Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon got the scoring started for Duke and kept it rolling, he leads the team with 11 points at the half. Foul trouble could become an issue for the Blue Devils in the second half as Ryan Kelly has three and Mason Plumlee has two. If Duke pulls out a win tonight it will be the 2,000th win in Duke program history.
3:19 first half: Duke 20, Creighton 19: Ryan Kelly picks up his third foul for Duke. Both teams are shooting just over 30% from the field and fouls are aplenty as halftime approaches.
7:48 first half: Duke 14, Creighton 9: Both teams are having a hard time finding the basket as Mason Plumlee picks up his second foul.
11:29 first half: Duke 14, Creighton 7: A three-point basket by Tyler Thornton put Duke up double Creighton's score. Four Duke players have gotten on the board in the first eight minutes of play.
15:28 first half: Duke 9, Creighton 4: Creighton jumped out to a fast start scoring the first basket of the game and shutting down Duke on their first possession. Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon began the attack for the Blue Devils with five points before the first media timeout.
An intriguing matchup is on tap in the third round of the Midwest Regional bracket of the NCAA tournament, as the second-seeded Duke Blue Devils take on the seventh-seeded Creighton Bluejays at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday.
Duke is certainly no stranger to this event, as the team boasts of 97 tournament victories all-time (third most), including 80 under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the most by any one coach in Division I history. The Blue Devils were able to add that 80th victory on Friday, and exorcised the demons from last year's stunning second-round exit, with a 73-61 victory over Albany.
With the win, Duke has moved within one of becoming just the fourth program in NCAA history to reach the 2,000-win plateau.
Greg McDermott's Bluejays had another stellar season in 2012-13, winning both the Missouri Valley regular season and tournament titles.
It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination, but Creighton advanced into the third round with a hard-fought 67-63 victory over Cincinnati on Friday. It marks the first time in school history that the Bluejays have won NCAA tournament games in consecutive seasons.
The winner of this matchup will move into the Sweet 16 against Michigan State.
Returning First-Team All-American and MVC Player of the Year Doug McDermott posted 27 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Bluejays to a four-point win over a tough Cincinnati squad in second-round action. Gregory Echenique posted 13 points and seven rebounds, while Ethan Wragge chipped in with 12 points off the bench for Creighton, which nailed 22-of-25 free-throws, including a few huge charity tosses down the stretch to earn the win.
Another big season could land McDermott on the All-American list once again, as he finished the year second in the nation in scoring, currently netting 23.2 ppg. With his big game against the Bearcats, McDermott broke his own single-season scoring record, set a year ago.
Although there isn't another player on the roster even remotely close to McDermott's offensive production, there is some balance, as the team as a whole is averaging a solid 75.1 ppg on just over 50 percent shooting. Echenique (9.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg) is a solid presence down low, while Grant Gibbs (8.5 ppg), Wragge (7.8 ppg) and Austin Chatman (7.4 ppg) have all had their moments this season.
The Blue Devils made sure there would not be another early exit, using Mason Plumlee's dominance down low and Seth Curry's perimeter acumen to keep the Great Danes at arm's length the entire game. Curry was 10-of-14 from the floor and finished with a game-high 26 points. Plumlee poured in 23 points on 9- of-11 shooting, and grabbed eight boards for Duke, which shot a hefty 58.7 percent from the floor against Albany.
That has been the formula for Duke throughout the season, as Plumlee's play in the paint and Curry's steady scoring from the perimeter has been unstoppable for the most part. The 6-foot-10 Plumlee is converting just about 60 percent from the floor on the year and leads the Blue Devils in both scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (10.2 rpg).
Curry, who shoots over 43 percent from behind the arc and leads the team with 83 3-pointers, is a close second at 17.3 ppg. Ryan Kelly (.466 from 3-point range) is another sharpshooter, netting 14.0 ppg.
The scoring depth doesn't end there, as Quinn Cook (12.2 ppg) and Rasheed Sulaimon (11.4 ppg) have made key contributions as well.