Philadelphia, PA – Rasheed Sulaimon scored 21 points and Seth Curry added 17, as Duke advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with a 66-50 triumph over Creighton in a third-round Midwest Region contest.
Mason Plumlee tallied 10 points for the second-seeded Blue Devils (29-5), who will face No. 3 seed Michigan State Friday in the regional semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
"The first two rounds I felt challenged," Sulaimon said referring also to Duke's win over Albany Friday. "The first game we didn't play as well as we could, but we were just happy to get past there. And this game playing against a great team like Creighton we stepped up our level of intensity, stepped up our level on the defensive side. I thought these were two great games in preparation for Michigan State next weekend in Indianapolis."
Sunday's result allowed the Blue Devils became the fourth program in NCAA history to reach 2,000 victories (2,000-839).
Doug McDermott scored 21 and had nine rebounds for the seventh-seeded Bluejays (28-8), who beat Cincinnati on Friday. McDermott shot 4-of-16 from the field, part of a woeful 30.2 percent (16-of-53) performance for Creighton. The Bluejays went 2-of-19 from 3-point range.
"They were real physical with me, and it seems like they were switching every screen, down screen, pick, just they were switching everything, making it frustrating," McDermott said. "I missed a lot of shots I normally make, so that was unfortunate. But they did a great job finding me, not letting me get anything easy, so you've got to give them credit."
Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Josh Hairston were in foul trouble, but the Blue Devils battled through it and also overcame 38.8 percent shooting from the field.
In a back-and-forth first half, the Bluejays went ahead 21-20 with nearly three minutes left following Austin Chatman's two made free throws.
Duke then went on a 9-2 spurt to end the half and capped it when Tyler Thornton made a double-clutch, running 3-point shot at the buzzer, when the ball banked in off the backboard.
"It was just tough to get buckets," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Tyler's shot at the end of the half was a big lift, but they came right back, and Seth put on a display."
Plumlee picked up his fourth foul 2:12 into the second half, and Ethan Wragge's 3-point play had the Bluejays within 34-30 with over 15 minutes left. But another 9-2 burst, this one capped by Amile Jefferson's layup, moved Duke to a double-digit advantage at the midway point.
The Bluejays never seriously threatened down the stretch and couldn't get closer than eight points.
Top seed Louisville and No. 12 seed Oregon will be the other matchup Friday in Indianapolis ... Duke is into the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in five years ... McDermott hit all 12 of his free throws.