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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kyrie Irving stole the inbound pass and sped downcourt toward the helpless Hampton defender under the basket. He leaped for a layup with his right hand, then switched to his left in mid-air.
Duke’s electrifying point guard sure didn’t look like he hadn’t played since December. And if he keeps producing highlights like this, his Hall of Fame coach will take care of two milestones in a matter of days.
Irving scored 14 points in his first game in three months, and top-seeded Duke routed 16th-seeded Hampton 87-45 on Friday in the second round of the West Regional for coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 899th career victory.
“I haven’t played in three months, so this game was really nerve-racking,” Irving said. “But once I got the butterflies out, I started to play really well.”
Andre Dawkins added 13 points, Mason Plumlee had 12, Kyle Singler finished with 11 and Miles Plumlee had 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils (31-4), who never trailed and shot 53 percent. They dominated from the start, winning their fourth straight and advancing to a third-round matchup with No. 8 seed Michigan (21-13) on Sunday.
Most of the attention surrounding this one centered around Irving, whose return adds another elite player to a Blue Devils roster already full of them.
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