February 15, 2019

CBK Story
By Gethin Coolbaugh, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: March 17, 2016 02:39:17 PM

Plumlee helps Duke get past UNC-Wilmington

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram get most of the attention, but Marshall Plumlee elevates Duke to the next level.
Plumlee spent most of his final season outside the spotlight, but he stepped into the limelight on Thursday afternoon to help No. 4 seed Duke beat No. 13 seed UNC-Wilmington 93-85 in an NCAA Tournament opener at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
"We have two of the most talented players in the country in Brandon and Grayson," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I've said a number of times in the second part of the season that our most important player is Marshall. When he plays well, we have a chance. If he plays just OK, then we don't have a chance."
Plumlee, wearing a mask after suffering a broken nose in the Blue Devils' win over North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament, had a pedestrian first half with four points and two rebounds but flipped the script after intermission to finish with 23 points and eight rebounds.
"There was no excuse for my (first half) play, face mask or not," Plumlee said. "I think it was more a mindset that anything else."
Plumlee, Allen and Ingram combined for 66 points and 27 rebounds. Allen scored 23 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field and 15 of 17 at the free-throw line and grabbed 10 rebounds. Ingram had 20 points and scooped up nine boards for the Blue Devils (24-10).
Duke fell behind by seven points in the first half and was down 43-40 at halftime.
The Blue Devils displayed renewed energy to start the final half and two Plumlee free throws capped a 16-3 surge to put the Blue Devils in control for good.
Denzel Ingram's 3-pointer with 1:24 remaining brought UNC-Wilmington within 90-85, and the Seahawks had a chance to do further damage but missed two 3-pointers and a layup on one possession in the last minute.
"Our motto is pretty much we don't worry about the name on the back of our jerseys, and we don't care about the name on the front of yours," said UNC-Wilmington's Craig Ponder, who scored a team-high 23 points. "We just try to go out and compete every game."
Chris Flemmings scored 18 points and Denzel Ingram chipped in 17 for UNC-Wilmington (25-8), which finished one victory shy of the highest season win total in program history.
"I couldn't be more proud of a group of guys that have laid it out on the line for me for 33 games this year," Seahawks coach Kevin Keatts said.
Duke meets No. 5 seed Baylor or No. 12 seed Yale in the second round on Saturday.
Allen and Ingram scored nine of the Blue Devils' first 19 points as they built a five-point cushion midway through the opening half, but the lead quickly evaporated.
Neither team led by more than three for nearly a seven-minute span before Plumlee's dunk brought Duke within 31-30 with 3:31 to play before the break.
Denzel Ingram's 3-pointer capped a 10-4 run that put the Seahawks up 41-34 with 55 seconds left in the half, but Duke's Luke Kennard and Brandon Ingram sank consecutive 3-pointers that closed the gap to three at the half.
"I think I've coached 115 NCAA (Tournament) games, and this team really is what the NCAA Tournament is all about," Krzyzewski said of UNC-Wilmington. "Champion, heart, and the game was such a terrific game."
Duke was 1 of 8 from 3-point range before Kennard's and Brandon Ingram's back-to-back treys and shot 43.8 percent through 20 minutes.
NOTES: Duke, making its 40th NCAA Tournament appearance and 21st in a row, improved to 106-34 in March. ... The Blue Devils boast the best winning percentage in NCAA Tournament history (.757) and rank third in wins. ... Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has won an NCAA Tournament-record 89 games, 41 of those since 2000. ... UNC-Wilmington fell to 1-5 in the NCAA Tournament. The Seahawks' only win in the Big Dance was a 93-89 overtime upset of No. 5 seed Southern California on March 14, 2002. ... The Seahawks lost their only other meeting with the Blue Devils, a 67-57 setback on Feb. 8, 1982

All Times Eastern