The Blue Devils overcame a sluggish start to move past a tough UNC-Wilmington squad 93-85 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday afternoon. Duke will face the winner of Baylor/Yale on Saturday.
Marshall Plumlee scored a career high 23 points, 19 coming after halftime, as Duke rallied from a four point deficit at intermission to defeat UNC-Wilmington by eight in the first game of the NCAA Tournament’s second round on Thursday.
Duke, which is seeded fourth in the West Region, will play against the winner of Baylor and Yale on Saturday afternoon.
Joining Plumlee on the top of the box score were Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen who scored 20 and 23 points respectively as Duke build a working margin with a run out of halftime behind Plumlee’s strong start. He scored 10 points and blocked two shots as Duke quickly made up ground midway through the half as part of a 14-0 spurt that gave Duke the lead. One they never gave back.
That Duke was within three was somewhat fortunate as the Blue Devils were being beaten to loose balls and second change points for most of the last 10 minutes before the break. UNC-Wilmington built a 41-34 lead late in the half, but Luke Kennard and Ingram hit back to back threes as the half wound down to make it 43-40.
Wilmington continued to push, however, and closed to within five with under 30 seconds remaining. But Chase Jeter blocked a late Seahawk layup attempts and Duke hit 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to put the game away.