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Wake Forest Came To Cameron And An ACC Game Broke Out

The Demon Deacons came to play Tuesday night.

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Wake Forest v Duke
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 05: RJ Barrett #5 and Javin DeLaurier #12 of the Duke Blue Devils battle Torry Johnson #4 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons for the ball during the second half of their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 05, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 71-70.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

If this was Danny Manning’s last trip to Cameron, he went down with a bang, not a whimper.

Duke survived a near-death experience by the margin of a roll, holding off Wake Forest 71-70

The Blue Devils trailed by 10 early in the second half, stormed back and then squandered numerous chances to put it away down the stretch, missed foul shots, careless turnovers and most of all a spirited Wake effort, led by Chaudee Brown and Brandon Childress, the latter the son of noted Duke slayer Randolph Childress.

Wake came into Cameron like a riverboat gambler, playing with house money, aggressive and confident.

Duke was neither. The Blue Devils pounded the Deacons 87-65 at Winston back in January, Zion Williamson was out again, it was Senior Day and North Carolina looms not too far down the line.

Jack White confirmed that Duke was flat out of the gate. “I think we thought coming out tonight, it was just going to be a fun time, our last time together as a team here in Cameron and we wanted to just enjoy that and I think we really didn’t come out with the mindset to fight and they did and they came at us. We got knocked back.”

With Williamson out, Duke needed a big game from R.J. Barrett but it also needed Cam Reddish to step up. But Reddish somehow managed to get called for three charges in the first half, playing only seven scoreless minutes.

“Cam’s the second scorer,” Krzyzewski said. “With Zion out, it’s hard to score. All of a sudden, you’ve only got R.J. out there, with Cam sitting on the bench with three fouls.”

The first half was back and forth. Duke didn’t take its first lead until 16-15 and held it for less than a minute. Jack White hit a pair of three-pointers to put Duke up 26-23 and his two foul shots put Duke up 35-34 at intermission.

Barrett (15) and White (8) combined for almost two-thirds of Duke’s first half points.

Jones extended the lead to 37-34 early in the second half. Before you could say “about time for Duke to pull away,” Wake went on a 15-2 run in a span of 2:34.

Timeout Duke.

“Just energy,” White said of the comeback, “talk and guys just getting pissed off. Finally we realized that we can’t lose this. We just buckled down and became hungry.”

Jones was on the same page.

“Our sense of urgency. We were playing real lackadaisical. It was almost like they were playing with all the confidence in the world and we weren’t. When we came out of that timeout, we knew we had to get going right then. We couldn’t wait any longer. We played with a lot more energy on both the offensive and defensive end.”

Jones started the comeback with a baseline 3. Barrett scored four points, then Alex O’Connell had an old-fashioned three-point play off his miss.

Duke took the lead for good at 65-62, on an O’Connell three-pointer, with 3:38.

Krzyzewski said Duke should have won by eight or 10 points “but we couldn’t put the ball in the basket on free throws. I know R.J. is beating himself up but he played a great game. Without him, forget it. Our kids fought like crazy. Jack gave us a huge spark, with 10 rebounds. But we couldn’t finish when we were playing so hard. I was impressed that our team continued to play at that level on the defensive end when all those other things were happening.”

Barrett missed nine-of-12 foul shots in the second half, one the first end of a one-and-one. He missed a pair with Duke up 67-62 and was called for a charge with Duke up 69-66.

But Barrett didn’t have much help and Manning acknowledged that Wake keyed on him.

“We just wanted to change it up, stay in front of him, make him work.”

Barrett hit a contested shot to put Duke up 71-68, with 17 seconds left, setting up a frenzied finish.

Childress scored on a layup, 71-70, seven seconds left.

Then a stunning turnover. White grabbed the ball out of bounds and turned to hand it to Barrett. White was ruled to have stepped on the line, resulting in a turnover.

Childress missed a long jumper, Brown rebounded and his follow shot rolled tantalizingly around the rim, before falling off.

“I was happy we got the win for Tony [Vrankovic] and Brennan [Besser] and the guys who won’t be here next year,” White said. “I don’t know if I could forgive myself if we lost.”

Here’s what Jones saw at the end.

“I could tell right away it [Childress’ shot] was a little off. The ball started bouncing around a little bit and we were just wishing it would roll out. They had been getting a lot of rolls all night so I guess it was time for us to get one.”

The win puts Duke at 26-4, 14-3 in the ACC. Wake drops to 11-18 and 4-13.

“I enjoyed watching it,” Manning summed up. “I thought we competed. We gave ourselves a chance.”

“We were fortunate in the last play, which was inexcusable,” Krzyzewski said. “But I do not think we were fortunate to win. They played great, not good. Brown and Childress were sensational. That was as good as I’ve seen them play.”


Barrett ended with 28 points. Jones was the only other Blue Devil in double figures, with 13. Reddish hit two from downtown in the second half and finished with six points. White had 10 rebounds.

Brown (21) and Childress (19) accounted for the bulk of Wake’s points.

Duke outrebounded Wake 43-41 and held them to 39 percent shooting. But Duke only forced nine turnovers, while committing 15.

Vrankovic got his first career start, picking up a block in three minutes.

Injury update?

Jones says he got a thigh bump but expects to be okay.

Marques Bolden missed much of the second half after being bumped on the hip. Krzyzewski said Bolden could have come back in but the game situation dictated a switching defense.

Zion? He did some “basketball work” today. At one point in the post-game Krzyzewski said “We just have to get him in shape. I don’t think he’ll be ready Saturday. But I would be surprised if he isn’t ready for the ACC Tournament.”

He later walked that back a bit, more along the lines of we’ll-know-more-Friday.


Player Of The Game vs. Wake Forest

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    RJ Barrett
    (473 votes)
  • 0%
    Cam Reddish
    (5 votes)
  • 7%
    Antonio Vrankovic
    (46 votes)
  • 6%
    Tre Jones
    (39 votes)
  • 3%
    Alex O’ Connell
    (23 votes)
  • 4%
    Jack White
    (26 votes)
  • 0%
    Javin DeLaurier
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Marques Bolden
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    Jordan Goldwire
    (13 votes)
629 votes total Vote Now
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