Duke 66, Creighton 50

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Rasheed Sulaimon scored 21 points and Seth Curry added 17 to lead Duke to a 66-50 victory over Creighton in the third round of the NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night.

The Blue Devils return to the Sweet 16 after a one-year layoff, making the regional semifinals for the fourth time in the last five years and 11 of the last 14, and did so with relative ease.

Second-seeded Duke (29-5) plays third-seeded Michigan State (27-8) on Friday in the Midwest Regional semis at Indianapolis.

Creighton's last lead was 21-20 with 3:19 left in the first half, and after that it was pretty much all Duke.

The Blue Devils took a six-point lead into halftime and extended that advantage as the game went on.

Creighton struggled from the floor, shooting 16 of 53 (30.2 percent) overall and two of 19 (10.5 percent) from 3-point range. The Bluejays entered play as the best 3-point shooting team in the country at 42.2 percent, but they couldn't hit shots all evening.

Creighton star forward Doug McDermott led the team with 21 points on 4-of-16 shooting, though he did make all 12 of his free throws. The only Bluejay to hit double figures, the 6-foot-8 junior also had a game-high nine rebounds.

McDermott finished up his junior season with an uncertain future. DraftExpress.com has him as the 45th-best professional prospect this year, ranking him as a potential second-round selection in June's NBA Draft.

Greg Echenique added nine points and six rebounds for the Bluejays in his final collegiate game. Creighton's Grant Gibbs added eight points and five boards before fouling out with just over three minutes to play.

The Blue Devils rebounded well as a team, with seven players pulling in four or more boards to help Duke to a 38-33 advantage on the glass.

Foul trouble plagued both teams all game, with a combined 46 whistles leading to 46 free-throws. Duke went 21 of 28 (75.0 percent) from the line, while Creighton hit 16 of 18 (88.9 percent).

Duke starting center Mason Plumlee picked up his fourth foul minutes into the second half. By the time nine minutes remained in the game, he was joined by fellow starter Ryan Kelly and reserve Josh Hairston as Blue Devils just one whistle away from fouling out. Plumlee (10 points, five rebounds) picked up his fifth with 2:45 remaining, though Duke was up by 13 points at the time.
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