Atlanta, GA, United States (4E Sports) – Seniors Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly combined for 51 points to lead No. 9 Duke to a 75-68 upset win over third-ranked Kentucky Tuesday at Georgia Dome.
Curry scored 23 points – his second-highest output at Duke — on 7-of-14 shooting from the field, 3-of-7 from the three-point line and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.
He scored eight straight points over the final 7:55 of the game that featured four ties and two lead changes to stave off a late Kentucky rally.
Plumlee added 18 while Kelly had 10 as the Blue Devils (2-0) won for the seventh time in their last eight meetings with the Wildcats.
The win also improved Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s record against Kentucky to 5-1.
The Wildcats (1-1) were paced by freshmen Alex Poythress with 20 points while fellow neophytes Nerlens Noel and Goodwin added 16 apiece.
Despite the loss, Kentucky still leads the head-to-head series, 11-9 mark. Duke has won seven of the last eight matchups while Kentucky coach John Calipari is now 0-2 against the Blue Devils.
The Wildcats grabbed a 15-9 lead before Kelly scored on a dunk and Curry buried a three-pointer to cut the deficit.
With eight minutes left in the first half, the Blue Devils launched a 10-2 run behind six points from Plumlee to storm ahead by 29-23.
The Wildcats later tied the count at 29 after three foul shots by Noel but Quinn Cook scored four points to put the Blue Devils ahead at the break.
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon buried a three-pointer to give first double-digit lead of the game, 52-42, with 12 minutes remaining in the second half.
The Wildcats, however, worked their way back and came within 64-61 after a layup by Archie Goodwin.
Curry kept the Wildcats at bay with four free throws and a layup, Tyler Thornton added two more foul shots and Kelly’s dunk with nine seconds left sealed the victory.