The Wake Forest Demon Deacons found themselves down just one point to the Duke Blue Devils at halftime of Tuesday night's contest, but the Blue Devils pulled away late, and ultimately prevailed by a final score of 79-71. The Deacs were led by senior Devin Thomas, who scored 16 points and hauled in 13 rebounds, while Duke was led by Grayson Allen, who lit up the Deacs for 30 points.
Wake Forest was able to remain in the contest so long because of the ability to knock down the deep ball. The Deacs hit 7 of their first 12 three-point attempts, but missed the final 9 and finished just 7 for 21 (33%). That, coupled with inopportune turnovers, proved to be too costly to overcome. One that nearly happened was Devin Thomas with a complete lackadaisical behind the back pass that fortunately drew a foul on Derryck Thornton. The other, that definitely did happen, came on an unacceptable outlet pass from Devin Thomas with 1 minute and 20 seconds to go. Wake Forest had the opportunity to cut the Duke lead to just three or four. Instead it rose to six, and made it that much harder to come back.
Wake Forest has a lot to be proud of for this effort. John Collins was big off the bench and score 10 points. Codi, Mitch and Devin all played efficient games, and Crawford was efficient until he started forcing shots at the end. To be honest, he didn't have any other option at this point. They also had more rebounds than Duke, and limited them to a very low percentage from the field. It's not easy to go into Cameron and emerge victorious, and Wake fans should be satisfied with this performance.
However, while the score was very close, there were some bad trends that continued into Tuesday's contest. Wake Forest had 18 turnovers, which which is 10 more than Duke had. The Deacs also had shot just 59% from the foul line. Wake needed to play a very good game to defeat Duke, and they probably played one of their best ACC games, but the simple things like turnovers and free throws continue to plague them. They are routinely sloppy when passing the ball, and that's exactly what you saw happen late in this contest. Careless attention to detail and precision really cost them.
The Duke Blue Devils will host the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday night. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons conclude the regular season with a record of 11-19 overall, including 2-16 in the ACC. The Deacs will have a week off before taking on the North Carolina State Wolfpack on the opening day of the ACC Tournament.