Irving returns as Duke routs Hampton
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Kyrie Irving scored 14 points in his return to the floor, leading Duke in an 87-45 rout of Hampton in its NCAA Tournament opener.
Irving had not played since December 4 because of an injured right foot, but Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski said Thursday that the freshman guard would return. Irving came off the bench to make 4-of-8 shots in 20 minutes, including a pair of three-pointers late in the second half.
"I was really pleased," Krzyzewski said. "I thought he was very confident as it moved along ... we're fortunate to get that many minutes for him."
Andre Dawkins added 13 points for Duke (31-4), the top seed in the West Region and reigning national champion. The Blue Devils will play eighth-seeded Michigan on Sunday in the round of 32, a rematch of the 1992 national title game.
Darrion Pellum and Charles Funches both had nine points to lead the Pirates (24-9), who won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tourney and were making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006.
"I think it was a learning experience for us because we try to do some of those same things just as everybody else, but sometimes the awe of the moment gets you," said Edward Joyner, Jr., who finished his second season as Hampton's head coach. "I think that had a big effect on us tonight."
Hampton recorded one of the NCAA Tournament's more memorable upsets back in 2001, when the 15th-seeded Pirates took out No. 2 seed Iowa State. However, the Pirates didn't have much of a chance to pull off an even greater stunner, falling behind early and never catching up.
Miles Plumlee, who finished with eight points and 13 rebounds, had two buckets to help Duke establish a 7-0 lead.
Dawkins later hit a three to end a six-point burst, giving the Blue Devils a 16-4 advantage not even five minutes into the game. Their lead hovered around 10 until they began to pull away late in the half.
A Kyle Singler layup followed by Dawkins' three-point play put Duke up 31-16 with 5:56 remaining. Hampton battled to stay in the game, but the Blue Devils scored the final six points of the half and carried a 39-22 lead into the break.
Duke never let the Pirates back in the game in the second half, opening the period with an 8-0 burst. Several minutes later, Nolan Smith's dunk pushed the Blue Devil advantage to 55-25.
Duke shot 60 percent in the second half, both overall and from three-point range.
Krzyzewski was coaching his 100th NCAA tourney game. He holds a 78-22 record, with four national titles...Mason Plumlee had 12 points for the Blue Devils, while Singler finished with 11...Hampton committed 17 turnovers, leading to 27 Duke points.
03/18 18:57:13 ET