For a full year, Duke had been hearing about Lehigh. On Friday, the second-seeded Blue Devils used the perimeter shooting of Seth Curry...
PHILADELPHIA — For a full year, Duke had been hearing about Lehigh.
On Friday, the second-seeded Blue Devils used the perimeter shooting of Seth Curry and the inside dominance of Mason Plumlee to put last season’s NCAA tournament upset to rest, beating Albany 73-61 in the second round of the Midwest Regional.
It was in the same round — and with the same seeding — that Duke was shocked by Lehigh last March, 75-70.
“Doesn’t really matter to us what people are talking about,” Plumlee said. “We’re very confident. I thought it was a good win today, and we’re just focused on us.”
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It may not have been a blowout against 15th-seeded Albany, but the Blue Devils (28-5) held a comfortable lead throughout. They will play Creighton on Sunday.
Curry scored 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Plumlee was 9 of 11 — including six dunks — for 23 points.
“Plumlee did the best Kareem Abdul-Jabbar imitation I’ve seen in a long time,” Albany coach Will Brown said. “He hit three sky hooks. I haven’t even seen somebody attempt that shot in my 12 years at Albany, and he hit three of them.”
Quinn Cook had 11 assists — many on lob passes inside to Plumlee — and Duke shot 58.7 percent (27 of 46), just off its season-best 60.8 percent against Florida State.
Still, the Great Danes (24-11), who beat Washington 63-62 in Seattle way back in November, trailed by only eight with 4:40 to play before fading.
“They’re Duke for a reason. They’re good for a reason. They have great players all around you,” said Albany guard Jacob Iati, who scored 15 points. “For us, it’s like the game of a lifetime; for them, it’s just another day in the park.”
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski extended his all-time lead with his 80th career victory in the tournament that he has won four times.
Creighton 67, Cincinnati 63
In Philadelphia, Doug McDermott had 27 points and 11 rebounds as the Bluejays won their tournament opener for the second straight year. McDermott, the two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and a 2012 All-American, made all 11 free throws for seventh-seeded Creighton (28-7).
Led by McDermott’s flawless effort from the line, Creighton made 22 of 25 free throws. No. 10 seed Cincinnati (22-12), playing in their camouflage-patterned shorts, made only 4 of 9.