Rushed Reactions: #4 Duke 93, #13 UNC-Wilmington 85

Posted by Chris Stone on March 17th, 2016

Rush the Court will provide immediate reactions to each of the 63 NCAA Tournament games from the First Round to the Championship.

Three Key Takeaways:

Brandon Ingram goes up for a layup during the first half versus UNC-Wilmington. (Credit: AP / Charles Krupa)

Brandon Ingram goes up for a layup during the first half versus UNC-Wilmington. (Credit: AP / Charles Krupa)

  1. Brandon Ingram has arrived. For much of the season, college basketball’s focus has understandably been on the incredible number of talented seniors in the sport. Duke’s Brandon Ingram is ready to take back some of that attention. Ingram has a legitimate shot to overtake LSU’s Ben Simmons as the #1 pick in June’s NBA Draft (with Simmons sitting at home during the NCAA Tournament), and he showed why this afternoon against the Seahawks. Ingram scored 20 points and displayed an array of dribble moves that weren’t in his arsenal even back in November. If the Blue Devils can put together a strong NCAA Tournament run this month, Ingram will remind everyone that the one-and-dones aren’t going away that easily.
  2. Grayson Allen needs to find his shooting stroke. Allen finished with 23 points on 12 shots, but he was just 4-of-12 from the field today against UNC-Wilmington after making 41.7 percent on the season. Allen was quick enough to beat the Seahawks’ guards off the bounce, but that likely won’t hold for the remainder of the Tournament as more talented opponents are tabbed to defend the sophomore guard. The Blue Devils will need to Allen to find his range to make the best of March.
  3. Duke’s defensive woes aren’t going anywhere. The Blue Devils allowed 85 points to the 75th best offense in the country, as UNC-Wilmington scored 1.15 points per possession. This is a concern given that the Seahawks only created 10 turnovers, one of their primary methods of producing points this season. UNCW also made 11 three-pointers and shot 44.1 percent from the field, with an enormous 79 of their points coming in the half-court. If Duke makes that run, it probably won’t be a product of its defense.

Star of the Game: Marshall Plumlee. Ingram showed why he’s NBA-ready, but Plumlee’s presence changed the game for the Blue Devils. The senior blocked two shots and altered a few more during Duke’s 16-2 run to open the second half. Plumlee delivered a huge all-around effort, scoring a career-high 23 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and blocking three shots before fouling out with 2:01 remaining. Marshall Plumlee cares not for your Cinderellas.


  • “Brandon’s the toughest matchup that we’ve had all year long.” — UNC-Wilmington head coach Kevin Keatts, on Duke’s Brandon Ingram.
  • “We do pass a lot of McDonald’s on the way home.” — Keatts again, on not having any McDonald’s All-Americans while building a smaller program.
  • “Looking at the first half, there’s no excuse for my play, face mask or not. I think it was more a mindset than anything else.” — Duke’s Marshall Plumlee on shedding the mask and his much better second half play.

Sights And Sounds: This was UNC-Wilmington’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006 and the Seahawks’ faithful were out in full force at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence today. Their shining moment, though, came midway through the second half when a small group began to taunt Duke’s Ingram at the foul line with a “Let’s Go Sixers!” chant to remind him that he may land on the woeful NBA squad in Philadelphia. Ingram, for what it’s worth, missed.

What’s Next: Duke moves on to face the winner of this afternoon’s game between Baylor and Yale. Both potential opponents are fantastic on the offensive boards, which could prove troubling for a Blue Devils group that gave up 27 offensive rebounds to North Carolina in their regular season finale.

Chris Stone (136 Posts)

Chris Stone is a contributor to the Big 12 microsite. You can find him on Twitter @cstonehoops.

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