Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee lead Duke past Albany in tourney
Philadelphia, PA, United States (4E Sports) – The Duke Blue Devils relied on Seth Curry’s perimeter shooting and Mason Plumlee’s inside game to beat Albany 73-61 Friday in the second round of the Midwest Regional.
Curry scored 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting, and Plumlee was 9 of 11 — including six dunks and three hook shots– for 23 points.
“These two guys really came through for us,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Quinn Cook had 11 assists — many on lob passes inside to the 6-10 Plumlee. Meanwhile, the 6-11 Ryan Kelly had eight points for Duke, 19-1 with him in the lineup this season.
Duke shot 58.7 percent (27 of 46), the fourth time in five games in March that Duke shot better than 50 percent from the field.
The Blue Devils (28-5), who lost 75-70 to 15th-seeded Lehigh in the second round last year, downplayed a repeat upset.
“Doesn’t really matter to us what people are talking about,” Plumlee said. “We’re very confident.”
But Duke never really pulled away from the Great Danes (24-11), who got as close as eight points with 4:40 to play.
A dunk by Plumlee on yet another assist by Cook and two free throws by Curry gave the Blue Devils their biggest lead of the game, 54-38 with 12:17 to play.
A 3-pointer by Peter Hooley brought the Great Danes within 62-52 with 6:11 to go. Two free throws by guard Jacob Iati made it 64-56 with 4:40 left.
But that was as close as the Great Danes would get, as Curry scored on a drive when he picked up a loose ball and then hit a baseline jumper to give the Blue Devils a 68-56 lead with 3:11 to play.
With the win, Duke’s Krzyzewski extended his all-time lead with his 80th career victory in the tournament that he has won four times. Duke will play seventh-seeded Creighton in the third round Sunday.
Albany was making its third NCAA appearance, all since 2006 and all one-and-outs.
The Great Danes shot 36.5 percent for the game (19 of 52). But they were 9 of 15 from 3-point range, the best by far of any Duke opponent this season and well above the 29.3 percent the Blue Devils had allowed.
Hooley had 13 points and Sam Rowley and Mike Black added 10 each for Albany.