clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Duke Escapes Improving Deacs, 75-70

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

There are probably more ways to look at this than the two we're going to get into, but to us, you can look at the Duke-Wake game as either Duke's continuing reboot without Ryan Kelly (who's in a boot), or the fact that Wake is toughening up and getting better fast.

[poll id="242"]

It's a bit of both. Although Mason Plumlee had a career night for Duke, a brilliant game, in a perfect world you don't want one player getting nearly half of your points.

Duke also got 21 from Seth Curry and 12 from Quinn Cook. They got just 10 from the rest of the team though.

Despite the imbalance, there's no question Plumlee had a superb game: 12-15 from the floor, 8-10 from the line and nine rebounds.

On the downside, he had seven turnovers, but that's at least partly down to Wake Forest's defense.

Curry has been up and down this season, but that's to be expected given the problems he's having with his leg. He showed again, though, the desire to step up and take over. Not all the shots went down, but the guy's stepping up.

Fan's Guides: Your ACC Lifeline All Season Long!
Gift Certificates Now Available!
Duke| State | UNC
“The Fan’s Guide is the essential source for Duke basketball fans in 2012. It is packed with brilliant analysis and writing by the ACC’s most astute basketball writers. I have not enjoyed any reading as much this season.” Professor Walter Manley, II
“If you love NCSU Athletics this is a must read, I will buy it every year, very thorough and precise.” Richard Mark Hunt
I was just glad to find a magazine about Duke basketball. I thoroughly enjoyed the magazine. It was well written and very informative. A must read for any diehard Duke fan.Camille H
"I get excited enough about basketball season as it is, but this Guide has been on my screen for weeks now and I'm more excited than ever. Not just about Duke, but the whole league. There are some truly unique and remarkable stats in this book, enough to make you just itch for the games to begin and see how the players do this year. I think my favorite article is the one on athletes and social media, though. I've read it three times already! Great photos, great writing, and lots of both. This is essential. " PlanBee
"If you haven't purchased the Fan's Guide yet, what are you waiting for? It contains marvelous old-school content in a new-school format." Jerry K.
"Thanks a lot! The guide looks fantastic! I am really excited to dig in." Rick W
"Wow, huge piece of work! Congratulations. You guys never fail to provide the best a fan could ask for." Bill C.
DBR Auctions! New T-Shirts! DBR Is On Twitter!(DBRTweetz)

Cook was mostly solid though some of his shots were perhaps questionable. Still, he had a better game than either Cody Miller-McIntyre or Madison Jones.

The freshmen starters were less sturdy, as Amile Jefferson and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for six points and seven rebounds. Jefferson picked up four fouls; Sulaimon three, including two early which limited his minutes.

Duke's defense surely wasn't where Coach K wanted it to be.

Wake got a lot of points in transition and a number on backdoor cuts and smart passes.

Rookie Devin Thomas continued his recent rise with 15 on 7-10 from the floor, while seniors Travis McKie and CJ Harris managed 14 each.

Miller-McIntyre finished with six points, one assist and four turnovers; Jones ended with four points.

Duke, as we said, is still redeveloping the team sans Kelly. The jury is out on that; we'll know eventually how well it worked out.

As far as Wake goes, we'd say Jeff Bzdelik has nearly justified A.D. Ron Wellman's faith. Wake is competitive again, having knocked off a Top 20 team in beating State, and of course took at Top Five team to the wire in Duke.

Thomas is emerging as one of the best young players in the ACC and some of his other classmates are beginning to show real flashes as well.

It's to the point where, when you look at next year, you have to think there will be a patina of optimism all around this basketball team.

We hope that Wake fans will realize that despite the recent frustrations and the bottoming out of the program since Bzdelik arrived, the lessons are being learned.

There are still going to be ups and downs, clearly. We don't want to be overly enthusiastic. But if you can't recognize progress of this sort, you probably have your mind made up.

Things are improving for Wake, and fast.