Somewhere in the Dunkin' Donuts Center there must be a phone booth they missed. That's the only explanation we can think of: At halftime, Marshall Plumlee stepped in, threw his mask away and came out as Superman.
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And good thing because Duke was in trouble after the first half.
UNC-W played wonderful basketball in the first half. They had confidence and verve. It was a blast to watch them. For a while we were thinking, well here we go again: VCU. Mercer. Fill in the blank.
Didn't happen and Plumlee was the reason why.
After the half he came out and registered a big block immediately. His energy was infectious and pretty quickly you could see that UNC-W got frustrated. The Seahawks started shooting quickly and when they did, Duke was getting the rebounds.
Plumlee got behind their defense repeatedly and scored on multiple alley-oops and dunks. He finished with a career-high 23 points and also had eight rebounds.
Despite his heroics, the Seahawks, a gutty team, pushed back and when Denzle Ingram hit a three to cut the lead to seven, Matt Jones came back immediately to push it back to 10.
Plumlee picked up his 4th foul with about 6:00 to go and then fouled out with 2:01 to go.
UNC-W again would not go quietly: Ingram hit another huge three to cut Duke's lead to 90-85 with just 1:27 left.
Grayson Allen brought the ball down and slipped on a wet spot - turnover. The Seahawks got three attempts and missed them all.
Allen came down and slipped again - after that the ballboys were finally put to work cleaning the court.
From there it was basically game management and defense. Duke did both well enough to win. Allen hit a pair of free throws and Ingram split his. But the game was done.
After the game, Coach K lauded Plumlee and said that both teams were very good and they both played hard. Hard to argue that. This was a solid game for Duke and UNC-W was really impressive. Those guys have a bright future.
We'll have more extensive comments on this game later tonight.
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- Box Score