GREENSBORO — Duke did not want to start the postseason this way.
Senior guard Nolan Smith, the ACC player of the year, limped off the court with a toe injury of undetermined severity Friday night late in the Blue Devils 87-71 defeat of Maryland in the ACC quarterfinals.
In todays 3 p.m. semifinal, No. 2 seed Duke will play the winner of Fridays late game between No. 3 seed Florida State and No. 6 seed Virginia Tech. Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said he doesnt know if Smith will play and will have X-rays to determine the seriousness of the injury.
Im not sure of Nolans status for [the semifinals], Krzyzewski said. We wont know that until maybe [Saturday] morning.
Smith injured the second toe on his left foot when he came down hard on Maryland senior Cliff Tuckers foot on a drive with 6 minutes, 48 seconds remaining. Smith crumpled in pain on the floor at the baseline.
After spending several minutes on the floor he got up and was barely able to get back to the Duke bench without assistance. His was the second toe injury Dukes backcourt has suffered this season.
Freshman starting point guard Kyrie Irving injured his right big toe Dec. 4 against Butler and hasnt played since.
On Friday night, Smiths teammates finished the game in spectacular fashion while he watched from the bench. In a span of 46 seconds, Curry drove for a 3-point play, made both ends of a one-and-one free throw opportunity and passed to Miles Plumlee for a layup as Duke scored seven straight points to stretch its lead to 72-60.
I was comfortable out there, and I didnt feel any pressure at all, Curry said.
Senior forward Kyle Singler didnt break out of his 3-point shooting slump but otherwise dominated the game. He shot 0-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc to slip to 6-for-37 over the last nine games, but shot 10-for-11 on two-point attempts and 9-for-9 from the foul line.
Singler also grabbed nine rebounds. Mason Plumlee added 10 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and Ryan Kelly scored 11 points all in the first half on 5-for-5 from the field.
Smiths teammates needed to have a big day, because he struggled even before he was injured. Wearing a padded sleeve on his left elbow for the first half but not the second half, he was held to seven points on 2-for-11 from the field.
He didnt make his first field goal until he hit a driving layup with 12:43 remaining. After leading by just one point with 11:40 to play, though, Duke (28-4) sped to a strong finish past the fading, seventh-seeded Terrapins (19-14).
The last eight minutes of the game, our team was incredibly tough, Krzyzewski said. Seth did a great job running the team. Kyle had a magnificent game.
Smith was undergoing treatment after the game and unavailable for comment.
With Smiths status uncertain, Curry (11 points, three assists) was asked if he would prepare as if he will be the starting point guard in the semifinals. Krzyzewski answered for him.
Youd better start getting ready, Krzyzewski said.
You heard it, he said. Im going to do what they tell me to do. Im going to prepare.
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