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Marshall Plumlee took his mask off and became an unstoppable monster

With a mask, Marshall Plumlee wasn't great. Without a mask, he dropped a career high in a half.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Marshall Plumlee broke his nose in Duke's ACC Tournament win over NC State. So when the Blue Devils came out against the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks in the NCAA Tournament, Plumlee was wearing a mask.

Photo credit: Mark L. Baer, USA Today Sports.

To start, he didn't play that well. The Seahawks' full-court press flustered the Blue Devils, and hot shooting had UNC-Wilmington up at the half. Plumlee had just four points and two rebounds.

But at halftime, Plumlee decided to ditch the faceguard:

Photo credit: Winslow Townson, USA Today Sports

Plumlee exploded. He had 19 points for a career-high 23, eight rebounds and three blocks. He shut down the undersized Seahawks on the defensive end of the court, and finished several alley-oops after Duke broke the UNC-W press. His previous career high was 21 points, and he almost did that in 20 minutes. He finished 9-for-10 from the field, mainly on uncontested dunks.

Clearly, Plumlee's facial protection was holding him back. He might look scarier with the mask on, but it's clear he's actually scarier unleashed. We'll presume he'll go forward without the mask. Maybe he'll shed his jersey or shoes and drop 75 in the second round.