It's not often you see an ACC game that is over by the half. But Duke literally could have gone scoreless in the second half and still defeated Wake Forest Wednesday night.
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That didn't happen of course. Duke scored plenty in the second half, enough to polish off a 94-51 thumping of the Deacons.
Wake coach Danny Manning said he didn't think his team had Cameron stage fright. But that claim doesn't pass the eye test. His team looked like it would rather have been anywhere else, doing anything else. Imagine a fifth-grader going to the principal's office.
The game was tied for all of 26 seconds, which is how long it took for Jahlil Okafor to score inside. That started a 12-0 Duke run. Mitchell Weilbekin scored five points for the visitors and then Duke went on a 17-0 run, that made it 31-5 at the mid-point of the half.
Duke completed the half on a 12-0 run that made it 52-15. No, that's not a typo. Duke had three double-digit scoring streaks in less than a half.
You don't do that without clicking on a lot of cylinders. It started with defense. "When we play defense like that, we know the offense will take care of itself," Justise Winslow said. "If we can commit to defense, we can be pretty good."
Wake turned it over four times before they scored their first points. Manning gave Duke some credit but also blamed his team. "A lot of times, the pass was a good idea but we didn't meet the ball. Or the pass was a careless pass. When Duke trapped, we didn't make ourselves available for the pass."
Duke's press did bother Wake Forest. Mike Krzyzewski said the press was designed to control Codi Miller-McIntyre by making him catch the ball standing still rather than allow him to push it up court and create transition opportunities.
Miller-McIntyre had six first-half points, three turnovers and a single assist.
On the other end, Duke was lighting it up.
The points didn't all come from the places you'd expect. Quinn Cook did hit a couple of first-half 3-pointers and Winslow showed how to fill up a stat sheet. But Krzyzewski took advantage of the huge lead to give Jahlil Okafor's sore ankle some badly needed rest.
Grayson Allen, Duke's less-heralded fourth freshman, has shown tantalizing glimpses of future stardom. Well, that future might be now. Allen came into the game with a season-high of 18 points, set back in November against Presbyterian. He exceeded that by half-time, hitting six field goals-two from beyond the arc--and going five for five from the foul line. His 19 first-half points were indeed four more points than Wake managed and yes, the Crazies chanted "Grayson's winning" throughout the final minutes of the half.
Allen actually had a four-point play, hitting a 3 and making a foul shot. Tyus Jones did the same thing, a desperation bomb with a tenth of a second left in the half and the freebie, giving Duke an eight-for-nine half from the foul line.
Wake shot seven for 23 from the field in the first half, missed all five of its foul shots and turned it over a jaw-dropping 16 times.
"Everything went well," Krzyzewski said of the first half, comparing it to the second Notre Dame game. "They couldn't hit a thing. Part of the turnovers was us. Because the bench played so well . . . . No matter who we had in the game, we were pretty good."
Krzyzewski pulled off the press after intermission and sent his team into a zone. The Deacons hit three 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the second half but really couldn't close the gap because Matt Jones scored 11 of Duke's first 13 second-half points-he assisted Amile Jefferson for the other two-in a four-minute explosion.
The lead stayed in the 40-point range most of the second half, peaking at the final margin of 43. Winslow and Jefferson both went down with apparent ankle sprains but both came back in and both said they were fine after the game. Krzyzewski said neither injury appeared too serious but fingers are being crossed.
Allen ended with 27 points, while Matt Jones equaled his career-high (Notre Dame) with 17 points. Quinn Cook made his Senior Day one to remember with 13 points. "This has been a surreal ride for me. Everything I wanted this summer is happening."
Tyus Jones added 10 points and five assists.
Then there was Winslow, with 13 points, six rebounds, seven assists and six steals. "I've always been able to do that, going back to high school. I just try to make plays, with the ball and without the ball."
Miller-McIntyre finished with 20 points, five assists and four turnovers. But Devin Thomas was held to zero points and one rebound in 20 ineffective minutes. This is the same Thomas who had 24 points and five rebounds in Wake's earlier and much closer loss to Duke.
Duke's win clinched the second seed in the ACC Tournament.
Okafor ended with six points, making both of his field-goal attempts and two of three foul shots. It was his first single-digit scoring outing of the season.
Allen led Duke in scoring, the 22nd time a freshman has led Duke in scoring this season.
With the win, Duke finishes 15-1 in Cameron.
Mike Krzyzewski was asked several times about Rasheed Sulaimon and declined to answer, citing legal limitations, which didn't stop folks from asking the same question, with the same answer.
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