Duke’s Second-Half Surge Propels Them to a Win


Duke plays their second game in 4 days after a 21-day break due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Blue Devil program. Wake Forest also had a break of their own earlier in the season between November 27 to December 31. (photo courtesy of Trevor Darnell)

On January 9, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons traveled across North Carolina to play on the road against the Duke Blue Devils. 

Both teams this year had COVID-19 outbreaks. Both teams had long breaks, Wake Forest had a break of 40 days and Duke had a break of 21 days. The number of games these teams have played (Duke 6 games and Wake Forest 5 games) are some of the lowest amounts of games played by Power-5 teams this season. 

Steve Forbes in his first season as head coach for the Deacons has led them to a 3-2 record going into their game against Duke but is 0-2 in ACC play. 

On the other side, Duke is 2-0 in ACC games, with their losses coming against top teams Illinois and Michigan State. Duke is led by Matthew Hurt in points per game (18.5), rebounds per game (8.5), and blocks per game (0.7). Wake Forest is led by Isiah Mucius in points per game (11.8) and rebounds per game (5.2). 

Hurt came out hot for Duke, scoring 11 of the first 17 points for Duke in the first 8 minutes of play. Wake Forest kept it close with a deficit of only 2 during the first 8 minutes.

Wake Forest was able to capitalize on Duke’s turnovers with 10 points off of turnovers in the first 13 minutes and only trailed by 4 points. Lots of back and forth play occurred between the two teams but with two minutes left in the half Duke lead by 3 points. 

After getting fouled, Carter Whitt (former Leesville Pride basketball player) was able to make two free throws to cut the Duke lead to one point with a minute left in the half. DJ Steward for Duke came up with a big layup, receiving a foul that gave Duke a 37-34 lead going into halftime. Duke’s leaders at the half were Hurt (11 points, 1 assist) and Steward (12 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 block). 

Wake’s leaders at the half were Whitt (8 points, 1 assist but 5 turnovers), Mucius (7 points and 1 rebound), and Daivien Williamson (7 points and 2 rebounds). Both teams struggled with turnovers, overall having 9 turnovers each in the first half. 

Turnovers continued to plague both teams with 3 more turnovers for each team happening in the first 4 minutes of the half. Both Hurt and Wendel Moore Jr continue to be in foul trouble for the Blue Devils with 3 personal fouls each early into the second half. 

After trading layups and threes the game was tied at 55 with 12 minutes left. Ody Oguama for Wake Forest also found himself in foul trouble during the second half of the game with 4 personal fouls. 

Duke finally broke through and went on a 5-0 run to make it a 60-55 game with 10 minutes left. 

Duke slowly continued to grow their lead to 9 points with 5 minutes left in the game. Wake Forest took a big blow a minute later with Oguama fouling out of the game, and the Deceans still down 9 points. Duke continued to wear Wake Forest out and grow their lead to 13 points with only 2 minutes left in the game. 

Duke finally closed out the game and won 79-68. 

Duke’s starters led the way for the Blue Devils. Hurt had 26 points (career-high), Steward had 21 points, Jordan Goldwire had 14 points, and Jeremy Roach had 12 points. Wake Forest was led by Williamson (17 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals) and Massoud (17 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 block). Wake Forest looks to break their three-game losing streak with a game at home against the Louisville Cardinals on Wednesday, January 13. Duke’s next game is on the road against nineteenth ranked Virginia Tech Hokies on Tuesday, January 12.


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