Never take an ACC road game for granted. Never. Any ACC road win is precious.
Especially when it comes in a bounce-back game following a disappointing home loss.
Duke wasn’t perfect in its 76-64 win at Wake Forest. But led by a trio of freshmen the Blue Devils took everything the home team had to offer and returned it in equal or greater measure.
The win was Duke’s first true road win of the season-not that they’ve had a lot of opportunities—and runs their record to 13-2, 3-1 in the ACC. The Deacons drop to 13-4, 3-3.
Mike Krzyzewski missed the game with what Duke called a non-COVID illness. Jon Scheyer filled in. Duke also made it first lineup change of the season. A.J. Griffin has been coming on strong in recent games and got the starting nod, with Jeremy Roach coming off the bench.
“First of all, it gave us great size,” Scheyer said of starting Griffin. “That group that we put out there to begin the game, it’s a big team. Trevor Keels and Wendell Moore Jr., as your two smallest players – they’re big guards that can switch really well, switch one through four at times, one through five. AJ Griffin has just been coming on. He’s just been playing really well.”
Griffin made it count, with a season-high 22 points, two fewer than Paolo Banchero. Classmate Trevor Keels added 11, meaning 57 of Duke’s 76 points came from that trio of freshmen.
Duke came into the game knowing that they needed to clean up the turnover issues that helped doom them against Miami.
Check that one off the to-do list.
With Roach coming off the bench Wendell Moore, Jr. took over much of the ball-handling responsibilities. He barely looked for his shot. Moore took 5 shots from the field, 5 from the line and scored only 7 points. But he had 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and not a single, solitary turnover.
No turnovers in 39 minutes for your primary ball-handler is worth two thumbs up.
With Moore leading the way, Duke lost the ball seven times, while forcing 15 Wake turnovers.
Duke started the game making its first four shots from the field and jumped to a 12-4 lead. But Duke went cold from the field and stopping protecting its defensive boards. Wake took its first lead at 16-15 and led 18-15 seconds later.
The final minute of the first half was crucial. Leading 29-27 after being down by eight, it looked for all the world like the Deacs were going to go into intermission with all of the momentum.
The tide turned in a New York minute. Moore hit a layup, Keels notched a steal and then hit a 3, Griffin drew a charge, Griffin hit a 3.
An 8-0 run in the final 42 seconds and Duke was up 35-29 at the half.
Duke carried that momentum into the second half. Duke scored on its first nine possessions and led 55-35.
That’s 28-6 over two halves.
“We talked a lot recently about end-of-half situations,” Scheyer said, “coming out of the half and then end-of-game, just managing time and score and really having a sense of urgency. We made that spurt there to close the half out, which was really important to go into halftime with the lead. Then, coming out and getting all those defensive stops, I think we definitely knocked them back. That was really important. From there, we were really in control of the game. It’s been something that Coach K has emphasized, as a staff we’ve emphasized it and that carried over tonight.”
A freshman either scored or assisted on each of those nine field goals that opened the second half.
The Deacons put together a 9-0 run and a 7-0 run but never got closer than 11 points.
Oklahoma transfer Alondes Williams led everyone with 25 points and Wake out-rebounded Duke 36-29. But the Deacons missed 14 of their 16 3-pointers, while Duke hit 7 of 15. Griffin was 3-5 on 3s, 8-11 from the field.
Scheyer called it an “exciting” win. “I think there was a lot of motivation coming off that Miami game with things that we can do better. We love how our team played the right way, made each other better on the offensive end, then defensively we really battled against a Wake Forest offense [which] is one of the best offenses in the ACC.”
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- BANCHER-OH: Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin erupt in Duke men’s basketball’s win against Wake Forest
- Five observations from Duke men’s basketball’s first half against Wake Forest
- Duke basketball topples Wake Forest. What we learned about Blue Devils, Demon Deacons
- Banchero, Griffin lead Duke’s victory over Wake Forest
- Coach K to miss Duke men’s basketball’s game against Wake Forest due to non-COVID virus
- Coach K out for tonight’s game against Wake Forest
- Frosh duo helps No. 8 Duke beat Wake Forest without Coach K
- Wake Forest can’t keep pace with eighth-ranked Duke at sold-out Joel Coliseum
- BOX SCORE (PDF)
- POSTGAME NOTES (PDF)
- DUKE COACH QUOTES (PDF)
- DUKE PLAYER QUOTES (PDF)
- OPPONENT QUOTES (PDF)
Player Of The Game vs. Wake Forest
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