Duke had a solid game against Wake Forest Tuesday night and then had to kind of strap things down in the last 3:00 minutes or so. Clearly, Duke needs to work on late game management. But they still won, 75-73 and move to 16-6 and 7-4 in the ACC.
Duke ran out to an 8-2 lead before the Demon Deacons pushed back when Andrew Carr hit a three to cut it to 8-5. Duke seemed like it was poised to get some separation but Wake kept fighting back.
The Blue Devils did get some separation when Jeremy Roach hit a layup with 2:06 to go in the first to put Duke up 38-32. Ryan Young converted a three-point play with 1:44 left to give Duke a 41-34 lead that they took into halftime.
The Blue Devils built a 12 point lead at 46-34 and got it as high as 51-38 with 13:16 to go. Wake cut it back to 55-49 before Tyrese Proctor hit a three to get the lead back to nine at 58-49.
Duke had a 10-point lead with 6:03 left and then the game started shifting slightly.
Kyle Filipowski had a gorgeous inside pass to Young for a layup to make the score 68-54 with 5:28 to go...and from then on, only Filipowski managed to score.
He hit a layup with 2:37 to go to push the lead back out to 70-61, then hit a huge three with :47 left to put Duke back up by seven, 73-66. Then he finished Duke’s scoring with a dunk with :39 seconds to go to make it 75-66.
Unfortunately Wake scored twice more: Damari Monsanto hit a three with :30 left and Tyree Appleby got inside for a layup.
Mark Mitchell missed the front end of a pair of free throws and then Bobby Klintman got a basket with :05 left to cut the score to 75-70.
Filipowski had free throws and like Mitchell missed the first. Applebey got near half court and launched and hit a three to make the final 75-73.
So as you can see, the end was a bit riskier than it needed to be. Obviously Duke needed to hit its free throws - that was four points it gave up on the line in the last :12 seconds. At one point in the stretch drive, we think Duke had three out of four possessions come up empty.
That’s sort of the last thing Jon Scheyer and the Blue Devils need to iron out. Otherwise?
This team has made a lot of progress lately.
Duke had 14 turnovers, but a lot of that was because Wake was aggressive. Six of them were by Filipowski alone but that can be cleaned up.
Appleby did score 27, which was tremendous, but good thing for Wake he did: the rest of his teammates were held to 46 points. And nobody shot well. Appleby was 9-19; the rest of the team was 15-45. Wake did hit 9-31 on threes but their real key was at the foul line, where they were 16-17.
The miss was critical though: it came after Jeremy Roach was called for a foul on Appleby. After a TV timeout, he stepped to the line and missed chance to cut the lead to 70-67. Filipowski hit his three and that was pretty much that.
Although Wake ultimately got 10 offensive rebounds to Duke’s nine, the Devils limited them to two in the first half.
Duke’s backcourt has shifted a bit. Proctor now has primary point guard duties most of the time, leaving Roach more chances to be offensively aggressive. In the first half against Wake, Roach racked up 17 points and finished with 21. And for a guard to hit 9-16, or 52.6 percent, is pretty good (it’s also good because his toe appears to be much, much better).
Proctor is showing a certain flair at point. Although he only had two assists here - big man Dereck Lively led the way with three - he had seven against Virginia Tech and eight against Georgia Tech.
For all the criticisms of Duke, as we keep pointing out, this is a very young team - and it is improving. Duke is defending at a high level and the offense has improved. Now it needs to work on taking care of the ball and how to manage winning time.
This is still a young team and it is still inconsistent. But it’s getting better fast and that’s exciting.
We’ll get a different measure on Saturday when the Tar Heels come to town.
- NO WAKE ZONE: Roach, Proctor steer Duke men’s basketball to revenge against Wake Forest at home
- 5 observations from Duke men’s basketball’s first half against Wake Forest
- Duke basketball continues to get better, just in time for Blue Devils’ biggest test yet
- Wake Forest comes up short at Duke to drop fourth game in a row
- Duke basketball readies for ‘war’ against UNC after win against Wake Forest
- Coach Steve Forbes of Wake Forest talks about a loss to Duke
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