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Duke back in familiar spot: round of 16
Let upsets take down other heavy favorites. Duke is back to business as usual. Rasheed Sulaimon scored 21 points, Seth Curry scored 17 and...
PHILADELPHIA — Let upsets take down other heavy favorites. Duke is back to business as usual.
Rasheed Sulaimon scored 21 points, Seth Curry scored 17 and No. 2 seed Duke held off seventh-seeded Creighton 66-50 on Sunday to advance to the round of 16 for the fourth time in five years.
A year after they lost their NCAA tournament opener, the Blue Devils (29-5) are back in the regional semifinal for the 23rd time. They will play No. 3 seed Michigan State (27-8) in the regional semifinal Friday in Indianapolis.
Duke's Mason Plumlee, Josh Hairston and Ryan Kelly battled foul trouble all game. Creighton (28-8) went cold and never made a serious run in the second half. Doug McDermott scored 21 points but made only four baskets.
With McDermott slumping, the Bluejays were knocked out in the third round by an ACC team for the second straight season.
Florida Gulf Coast beat San Diego State 81-71 in the opener in Philadelphia that had the crowd of more than 20,000 buzzing after the upset win.
Duke's win could not match it in excitement and intensity.
But that's OK for the Blue Devils. They're not in it for style points. They're here to win coach Mike Krzyzewski's fifth national championship.
Still, the Blue Devils haven't advanced past the round of 16 since Krzyzewski won his fourth national championship in 2010. They lost last year to Lehigh and spent their first three days in Philadelphia still having to answer for that one. Yes, even after they beat Albany in the second round.
Foul trouble hounded the Blue Devils from the opening tip. Plumlee hit the bench after he was whistled for his fourth foul early in the second half.
Hairston picked up his fourth foul at the 15:21 mark, allowing Ethan Wragge to convert a three-point play that inched the Bluejays closer.
Curry came right back with a three-pointer and followed with a layup to make it 39-30. Plumlee and Kelly, each with four fouls, returned to the game as Krzyzewski clearly wanted his best players in there to try and put away the Bluejays.
The usually sure-shooting Creighton never found its groove.
The Bluejays missed 17 of 19 three-pointers and shot only 30 percent from the field. McDermott was 4 of 16 but 12 of 12 from the line.