New No. 1? Duke crushes Wake
Durham, NC (Sports Network) – J.J. Redick scored a season-high 23 points, as
No. 2 Duke defeated fourth-ranked Wake Forest, 84-72, in a battle between two
ACC heavyweights at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Daniel Ewing added 20 points and Shelden Williams posted 16 points, 14
rebounds and a career-high eight blocks for the Blue Devils (14-1, 4-0 ACC),
who have won 11 straight games since their only loss of the season in the
finals of the Great Alaska Shootout to Purdue.
“I was very active on the defensive end,” said Williams. “I was helping my
teammates out. A lot of times when they were posting a guard or having a big
man post up, I had help-side blocks. I was very active tonight.”
Chris Duhon added a career-high 14 assists and freshman Luol Deng netted 15
points for Duke, which ran its homecourt winning streak to 36 games, which is
the second-longest in the nation and trails Pittsburgh by one game.
“I’m very proud of my team and very impressed with Wake Forest, the way that
they play,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The Blue Devils will likely assume the top spot when the new polls are
released Monday, as current No. 1 Connecticut lost to Duke’s arch-rival, North
Carolina. The Tar Heels posted an 86-83 win over the top-ranked Huskies on
Justin Gray scored 18 points for the Demon Deacons (11-2, 2-1), who have
dropped two straight games after they began the year with 11 straight wins.
“I thought Duke was better than us today,” said Wake Forest head coach Skip
Prosser. “They’re a very, very good team. I think our kids fought. A couple
times we came back from deficits to get the game back to being a game, but I
take my hat off to Duke. I think they played very well.”
These two teams played for the 223rd time in school history, the most frequent
series in ACC history. Duke, which has claimed 15 of the last 16 meetings,
leads the all-time series 150-73. Despite the number of games between the
schools, this marked the first-time ever that both teams were ranked in the
top five of the rankings simultaneously.
Wake Forest scored the game’s first two points before the Blue Devils reeled
off nine straight, highlighted by four points from Williams, to claim a 9-2
lead with 16:07 left in the half.
Duhon’s layup moments later extended the lead to 14-4 and Deng’s three-
pointer with 12:34 left in the half stretched the cushion to 17-6. Duke
increased its gap to 27-15 on Duhon’s layup with just over six minutes
remaining, but Wake Forest would not go away.
The Demon Deacons got right back into the game as they used an 8-0 run,
highlighted by three-pointers from Gray and Chris Paul, to climb within 27-23
with 4:39 left in the half.
However, the Blue Devils had an answer as they closed out the half on a 14-7
run, to seize a 41-30 halftime edge.
Redick had 11 points and Williams scored nine in the opening 20 minutes.
Wake Forest began the second half by scoring 12 of the first 16 points, paced
by eight points from Gray, to close within 45-42 with 15:50 remaining in the
game. The Blue Devils then steadied themselves and used a 10-2 surge,
culminated by Redick’s three, to widen their margin to 55-44.
“I had a great time out there today, and I think we had a great time as a
team,” said Redick. “These are the games, these are the reasons you come to
play for Duke, a game like this where Cameron’s rocking. Our fans were great
today. We’re playing a top-five team for first place in the ACC. These are the
reasons that we came to Duke.”
Redick’s breakaway layup with just under 11 minutes left in the game staked
Duke to a commanding 63-49 lead, but Vytas Danelius’ dunk three minutes later
brought the Demon Deacons within 10.
The Blue Devils though, scored the game’s next five points to increase their
lead to 70-55 and Wake Forest never closed within single-digits again.