Duke won’t have starting guard Nolan Smith for at least one more game, and freshman forward Mason Plumlee’s debut is on hold because of a fractured left wrist.
If Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer can match their season-opening performances, those absences shouldn’t prove much of a problem for the No. 9 Blue Devils in Monday night’s first-round game of the NIT Season Tip-Off against Coastal Carolina.
Smith concludes his two-game NCAA suspension Monday for playing in unsanctioned summer league competition, but Duke (1-0) lost one of its projected frontcourt starters indefinitely when Plumlee was hurt in practice Wednesday.
The 6-foot-10 forward’s injury, however, is not expected to require surgery.
“It was an unfortunate play, but we are confident that he will make a full recovery,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Mason is going to be a very good player for us, and we look forward to him getting healthy and returning.”
The Blue Devils shot 59.7 percent in a 96-62 rout of visiting UNC-Greensboro on Friday night. Singler scored 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting and Scheyer added 18 in a 5-of-10 performance.
“It’s been a couple of days we’ve been practicing without Nolan, and obviously, we’re a better team with him,” Scheyer said. “We were able to adjust tonight, which is key.”
Singler and Scheyer each hit a pair of 3-pointers while playing nearly the entire game because of Duke’s depleted lineup.
“There’s no middle reliever,” Krzyzewski said. “There’s no (Mariano) Rivera coming in at the end, or any setup guys, so they have to play like that.”
Singler, the ACC preseason player of the year, and Scheyer were among five Blue Devils to score in double figures. Plumlee’s brother, sophomore Miles, reached double figures for the first time with 10 points and added a career-high nine rebounds for Duke, which extended its NCAA-record non-conference winning streak to 69.
The Blue Devils should have a good chance to add another victory against Coastal Carolina (1-0), which has one win in 28 games against ACC opponents and seven victories in its last 43 road contests.
The Chanticleers did have a strong season debut thanks to senior forward Joseph Harris.
The preseason All-Big South selection had 21 points and 17 rebounds in a 70-59 home win over College of Charleston on Friday night. Junior forward Chad Gray added a career-high 17 points in his first game since transferring from South Carolina.
Harris, 32 points shy of 1,000, averaged 15.4 points and 11.4 rebounds last season for Coastal Carolina, which finished 11-20.
This will be the first meeting between the schools, whose coaches have a combined 1,393 victories.