As Duke's leading scorer.
The freshman point guard, who had been sidelined since Dec 4th by a freak toe injury, came off the bench to score 14 points as Duke easily defeated Hampton 87-45 in the second round of the West Regional.
Duke never trailed after jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes while shooting 53 percent from the field and 47 percent from the perimeter to move in the next round against Michigan.
The Wolverines opened their NCAA Tournament with a 30 point beat-down of Tennessee.
Lost in the hoopla surrounding Irving's return and the potential match-up between Duke and Michigan on the heels of the infamous "Fab 5" documentary was balanced attack employed by head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Andre Dawkins scored 13 points, Mason Plumlee had 12, while Kyle Singler added 11. Junior big man Miles Plumlee had eight points and 13 rebounds - 11 in the first half. All told seven Blue Devils scored eight or more points as Krzyzewski routinely resorted to hockey style line changes between the first and second teams throughout the second half.
No matter which team was on the court for the Blue Devils, Hampton was over matched as its five game win streak was snapped emphatically. The Pirates' top three scorers, Darrion Pellum, Kwame Morgan, and Charles Funches were limited to just 9-of-29 shooting from the field and just 21 combined points.
The win moved Coach K's career total to 899, just three behind former Indiana head coach Bobby Knight. It was also the head Blue Devil's 76th victory in 100 career NCAA Tournament games.