DEACS DECK DUKE
March is the month when college basketball teams strive to be their best.
No. 4 Duke fell far short of that goal Wednesday night.
The Blue Devils let a struggling Wake Forest team score 17 consecutive points during a second-half run that gave the Demon Deacons an 82-72 upset win in ACC basketball at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“This time of year,” Duke associate head coach Steve Wojciechowski said, “if you are not tough and you are not together for 40 minutes, it can be some very hard lessons.”
Wojciechowski filled in for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski during the post-game news conference because Krzyzewski began experiencing dizziness and lightheadedness during the second half.
The 67-year-old Krzyzewski received treatment from Duke’s medical staff in the locker room before walking out of the arena under his own power. He returned to Durham in a car with Duke athletics director Kevin White.
Wojciechowski said perhaps the emotion of the game got to Krzyzewski.
But the Blue Devils (23-7, 12-5 in ACC) said they let a lack of emotion, toughness and togetherness cost them a game they led 66-59 with 5:44 to play.
“When the heat of the moment happened we really didn’t come to each other and really want to pull out a win,” Duke freshman forward Jabari Parker said. “We kind of went our separate ways, me included.”
Even though Parker scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on a night when four fouls limited him to 30 minutes of play, he took the loss personally.
“It’s my responsibility,” Parker said. “I’m taking full credit and responsibility for this loss. I have to be there for my team. Nobody else. There’s no excuses.”
Though a young player, Parker expects to deliver the winning plays Duke lacked while suffering its fifth ACC road loss of the season.
“Winning plays,” Parker said. “Be there on defense. Be smart. I can’t say that I’m a freshman no more. If I’m going to play big minutes, if I’m going to be on the floor with my team I have to be responsible.”
Duke sophomore forward Rodney Hood, one of the team’s three captains, said everyone on the Blue Devils has room to improve.
“We all take the blame for this one,” Hood said. “None of us played well. None of us played well, myself included. I played horrible. We didn’t play connected on the offensive end. We didn’t play connected on the defensive end. If we do that, we will lose.”
On a night when Duke hit 42.9 percent of its shots, including an icy 6 of 27 on 3-pointers (22.2 percent), Hood scored 16 points. He was 6 of 14 from the field and made just 1 of 6 3-pointers.
Duke turned the ball over 15 times while handing out only 14 assists.
Still, the Blue Devils erased Wake Forest’s 36-33 halftime lead by hitting their first two 3-point tries of the second half.
When Parker hit back-to-back baskets, a fade-away jumper from 12 feet and a slam dunk off a slick pass from Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke led 66-59 at the 5:44 mark and appeared in control.
But Wake Forest (16-14, 6-11) had the drive and toughness to turn the game around and take control.
The Deacons scored on nine consecutive possessions while Duke went a few seconds shy of five minutes without scoring.
Reserve forward Tyler Cavanaugh, on the way to a career-high 20 points, scored three baskets in the lane during that stretch. Senior forward Travis McKie, who scored 19 points, drew a pair of fouls with aggressive drives that netted him four free throws.
Wake made seven of eight free throws while reeling off 17 consecutive points.
“I don’t know if our guys had the needed edge to play against a Wake Forest team that played their hearts out,” Wojciechowski said.
While Wake was scoring every time it had the ball, Duke committed turnovers or watch its jump shots clang off the rim.
“I just don;’t think we executed at the end,” said Duke guard Quinn Cook, who scored eight points and committed four turnovers in a reserve role. “I think they wanted it more at the end. We made our run at the beginning of the second half. We kind of had them on their backs and on their heels. We let up. I think they wanted it more.”
|WAKE FOREST 82, No. 4 DUKE 72|
Percentages: FG .429, FT .667.
3-Point Goals: 6-27, .222 (Cook 2-5, Sulaimon 2-8, Dawkins 1-4, Hood 1-6, Parker 0-1, Thornton 0-3).
Team Rebounds: 4.
Blocked Shots: 4 (Plumlee 2, Parker, Jefferson).
Turnovers: 15 (Sulaimon 4, Cook 4, Parker 2, Thornton 2, Hood 2, Jefferson).
Steals: 6 (Cook 2, Sulaimon 2, Hood 2).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .464, FT .735.
3-Point Goals: 5-11, .455 (Williams 2-3, McKie 2-5, Adala Moto 1-1, Overton 0-1, Miller-McIntyre 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 3.
Blocked Shots: 3 (Thomas 2, McKie).
Turnovers: 10 (McKie 3, Miller-McIntyre 2, Cavanaugh 2, Thomas, Adala Moto, Williams).
Steals: 8 (Williams 3, Miller-McIntyre 2, Adala Moto, Jones, McKie).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_Roger Ayers, Michael Stephens, Pat Driscoll.