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Duke & UNC 2013With its star big man on the bench with foul trouble, Duke went small to beat its top rival — and one of its smallest players came up big.

The run that propelled the second-ranked Blue Devils to a 73-68 victory over North Carolina on Wednesday night started when Mason Plumlee sat down and backup guard Tyler Thornton warmed up.

“I think the hero for us this game was Thornton,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He would not let us lose.”

Plumlee finished with his usual big numbers — 18 points, 11 rebounds — while Quinn Cook scored 18 points and Rasheed Sulaimon finished with 13 for the Blue Devils (22-2, 9-2 Atlantic Coast Conference).

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