WINSTON-SALEM, NC (AP) – Paolo Banchero had 24 points and Duke, eighth, had 13 straight shots to open it after halftime and beat Wake Forest 76-64 on Wednesday night with the Temple coach of fame Mike Krzyzewski sidelined by illness.
Fellow freshman AJ Griffin had 22 points, a season-high, to help the Blue Devils bounce back from a weekend home loss to Miami. They did so with longtime retired Duke coach with what the school called an ‘unrelated COVID virus’, while associate head coach Jon Scheyer – named as Krzyzewski’s successor after this season – worked as an interim coach.
Banchero and Griffin led the way as the Blue Devils (13-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) suddenly extended a two-possession lead in the dying minute of the first half – then put a searing hand in the second that faltered the Demon Deacons (13-4, 3-3) for good.
Griffin finished the first half by pretending to pretend Khadim Sy, then stepping forward to reverse a 3-point corner just before the horn for the 35-29 lead. The Blue Devils made their last four shots of the first half, then came out of the break with their first nine shots.
Alondes Williams scored 25 points for the Demon Deacons, who faced the Blue Devils in a close game in the first half and led 29-27 over the Dallas Walton dunk and -1 with 54.1 seconds left. But the Demon Deacons erased a long stretch of quality minutes with a shaky finish that sparked Duke’s landslide.
Duke: This was the Blue Devils’ third game after a COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in two postponements. They came back shooting a record 37% in the win over Georgia Tech, then committed 17 turnovers, the worst of the season, in the loss to Miami. Along the way, Krzyzewski said it would take time for the Blue Devils to rebuild their physical condition to be in tip-top shape. This time, Duke shot 61% after halftime and 51% for the game while also achieving 7 of 15 3 points, Griffin in particular continuing to thrive.
Wake Forest: Second-year coach Steve Forbes brought a spark to the program after years of wrestling, and it showed here with a rowdy crowd at home – including a full and rowdy student section running at the Chris Paul’s era in the mid-2000s. The Demon Deacons backed up the buzz by erasing an eight-point hole at the start and getting into a tight game, only to see it crumble with just a few unwanted turnovers. before half-time to help Duke take action.
Duke: hosts the state of North Carolina on Saturday.
Wake Forest: In Virginia on Saturdays.
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