WINSTON-SALEM — The list of concerns in the aftermath of No. 4 Dukes stunning 82-72 loss at Wake Forest is long.
The team appears to be lacking player leadership. Wake Forest, which is playing for nothing but pride, was the tougher team. Despite seven days in between games, Duke (23-7, 12-5 ACC) shot poorly from 3-point range again. Down the stretch, the Blue Devils folded instead of coming together.
And during an early second half timeout, head coach Mike Krzyzewski was overcome with a bout of dizziness and lightheadedness, which forced him to take a knee. Head trainer Jose Fonseca rushed over to him, and athletic director Kevin White stood up in the stands behind the bench, monitoring the situation. Krzyzewski, more subdued than usual, finished coaching the game, but the lightheadedness and dizziness persisted. He was advised by Dukes medical staff to skip the post-game press conference, and assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski spoke in his place. Krzyzewski, 67, is expected to make a full recovery.
He has not been ill, Wojciechowski said. He has not been ill; hes actually in as good of shape as can be. Just the emotion of the game, obviously we werent playing as well as we needed, and theres a great emotional investment into the game. Maybe the emotion got the better of him. Again, we expect a full recovery.
He didnt complain about feeling poorly either before the game or in the first half. Theres a great emotional investment, certainly by him. Ive never met a better fighter than Coach K. He pours his heart and soul into everything that he does. His team not necessarily responding certainly can hit hard.
Krzyzewski walked out of Joel Coliseum under his own power.
Foul trouble plagued Dukes most productive players Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood and Marshall Plumlee for most of the game. Parker played with more emotion than he has in any other game this year, getting visibly upset after Amile Jefferson couldnt handle a second-half pass under the basket. Parker finished with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and added 10 rebounds.
Trying to get my team pumped up, Parker said when asked about the extra emotion. I dont like negativity, even if were in the heat of the battle, even if things arent going our way. I just want to be there for the team, just be a motor, another drive for them.
Despite a less-than-stellar performance, a Parker slam put Duke ahead 66-59 with 5:44 remaining. Then Wake Forest (16-14, 6-11 ACC) went on a 17-0 run.
During that span, Dukes 10 possessions went like this: turnover (Parker), turnover (Jefferson), missed 3 (Rasheed Sulaimon), turnover (Sulaimon), missed lay-up (Quinn Cook), missed 3 (Tyler Thornton), missed 3 (Cook), turnover (Sulaimon), missed 3 (Sulaimon), missed 3 (Andre Dawkins).
By the time Sulaimon broke Wakes run and hit two free throws with 46 seconds left, Duke was down 76-68.
"Dang thing went south," said Hood who struggled to find his shot against the Wake Forest zone, shooting 6 of 14 for 16 points. "I dont think we played together down the stretch. Once shots didnt fall and they started scoring, we tried to rush to score rather than being patient.
"This one is probably the toughest loss because I knew we should have won the game."
Hood was asked about the effect of Dukes seven-day break from games: "It affected an immature team," he said, adding that he had seen signs the team wasnt properly prepared in practice. Instead of addressing it, though, he said he ignored it, figuring the Blue Devils would still come ready to play.
"Our guys got rattled," Wojciechowski said. "I didnt think we had the poise or the leadership on the floor to win. We had a breaking point type of moment, to capitalize on it, and a lot of that had to do with the effort and energy that Wake played with.
"The teams that Ive been a part of that have had the most success in March are teams with great internal leadership. The players, as much as you can try to inspire and motivate them, those guys have to show it. We lost in March. And as a kid, you dream of playing in March. Hopefully this is a hard lesson that will be used in a positive way and we can move our team forward in a positive direction."
Keeley: 919-829-4556; Twitter: @laurakeeley