It wasn’t the smoothest of games late Tuesday night, as No. 4 Duke played Wake Forest.
The two teams, which had played 10 days earlier, combined for 22 turnovers (15 for Wake, 7 for Duke) and 21 fouls in the first half alone. At that point, Duke led by only 11 points, after the Demon Deacons closed the half on a 6-0 run.
But Duke started the first few minutes of the second half playing much more efficiently, and won 84-70.
Duke improved to 18-2 on the season, and 6-2 in ACC play. Both teams seem headed in different directions. It is Duke’s fifth straight conference win, and third straight ACC road win after losing the first two. It was Wake Forest’s sixth straight loss.
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But this game will likely be one that both coaches won’t be too happy about when they look at the film.
Duke led by as many as 17 points in the first half before Wake Forest (8-12, 1-7) closed the half on a 6-0 run. It was capped off by an alley-oop dunk from Wake Forest sophomore point guard Brandon Childress to junior center Doral Moore (7-1, 280) before the buzzer.
Moore didn’t miss a shot in the game. He was 9-for-9 from the floor and had 18 points and 12 rebounds. He was also a big reason the Demon Deacons outrebounded the Blue Devils 37-31.
In the second half, Duke stormed out with a 10-1 run and took a 20-point lead.
But the offensive efficiency Duke showed in the first few minutes of the second half didn’t last long.
Once again, Wake Forest climbed back into the game. The Demon Deacons went on a 15-4 run of their own over a three-minute span and closed the deficit to 8 points with 10 minutes left to play.
But Duke did what it often does in close games. It got stops, forced turnovers and took advantage of those turnovers.
Duke ended Wake Forest’s run after senior guard Grayson Allen found freshman forward Marvin Bagley III for an alley-oop dunk. Wake continued to hang around, but never got closer than 8 points.
Duke freshman forward Wendell Carter Jr. led all scorers with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Allen had 17 points, and Duke freshman guard Gary Trent Jr. had 19 points.
Bagley finished with his 16th double-double of the season. He had 16 points and 11 rebounds.