Duke didn't play their best offensive game, but they were able to stymie one of the best scorers in the nation in Doug McDermott as they moved on to the Sweet 16 with a 66-50 win.
The Blue Devils knew they would have to put the clamps on the National Player of the Year finalist and they did. Other than a scoring spurt in the first half, the Creighton star wasn't really able to get in rhythm all game. The Bluejays had trouble just getting him the ball, and when he did end up with it, he wasn't his usual self as he battled Duke's big bodies. Credit goes to Amile Jefferson, the 6'7 freshman with a great wingspan who was forced into play with Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly in foul trouble. Thanks to him, the nation's second-leading scorer wouldn't manage a field goal for the majority of the second half, although he finished with 21 points thanks to frequent trips to the free throw line. McDermott would be the only Creighton player in double digits.
The rest of the Bluejay squad couldn't get the job done with McDermott stifled. Aside from McDermott, the team went 1-for-15 from three, and as a team, shot just 16-for-53 from the field -- 30.2 percent. That allowed a poor shooting night from the Blue Devils to stand up. Seth Curry was just 2-for-9 from downtown and Ryan Kelly was scoreless for over 37 minutes before finishing with one point. Rasheed Sulaimon led the way with 19 points.
There wasn't a whole lot of offense early. Duke jumped out to a 14-7 lead, then didn't score for the next five minutes as McDermott reeled off his team's next eight points. Creighton would lead 21-20, but the Blue Devils scored nine of the last 10 points in the first half, finishing the period 29-23 after a desperation chuck at the buzzer by Tyler Thornton connected.
Duke's distancing from the Bluejays was a methodical one -- a 14-5 run that took about 10 minutes. But it was dominant. Creighton wasn't getting good looks, wasn't getting McDermott the ball in good position, and wasn't scoring in general. There was some drama, as Creighton's bigs worked Plumlee and Kelly into foul trouble and limited their ability to contribute defensively, but the Blue Devils got up by as much as 16 and held on for the win.
Next up for Duke is Michigan State in the Sweet 16. Now, Creighton will wait to see if McDermott will return to play a senior season for his father or head for the NBA Draft.