For the 22nd year in a row, the Duke Blue Devils have beaten the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in Cameron Indoor Stadium, this time by a score of 79-68. Much like the Virginia game earlier this week, the Deacs played a great 30 minutes and were neck and neck with one of the best teams in the ACC on the road, only to come up short in the final fourth of the game. With 10 minutes left in this one, the Deacs trailed Duke by just 3 points, 57-60, but were unable to complete the upset on the road. Duke went on a 15-5 run over the next 7 minutes, pushing the lead to 13 points to finally put Wake Forest away.
The Blue Devils were led by a career high from sophomore Matthew Hurt—the ACC’s leading scoring finished the game with 26 points on 10-15 shooting (4-7 from 3), 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. As the Deacs are still short handed in the front court, Hurt pretty much had his way from everywhere on the court today, especially with Ody Oguama being in foul trouble for most of the game. Oguama fouled out with 4 minutes left and played just 14 minutes.
The Deacs got 17 points from both Ismael Massoud and Daivien Williamson, but no other Wake Forest player managed to hit double digits. Starting point guard Carter Whitt finished the game with an impressive 8 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals, but also accounted for 7 turnovers, almost half of the teams 15. Despite being in high school less than a month ago, Whitt has already showed that he is absolutely capable of playing with the best players in the ACC, and the turnover numbers will most likely come down as he gets more and more experience playing against ACC teams.
The biggest problem in this game for Wake Forest was offensive rebounds. The Deacs allowed Duke to grab 15 offensive rebounds, sometimes multiple in a single possession, for 15 second chance points. With limited playing time for Oguama, a few of the offensive rebounds could be blamed on a lack of size on the court. Regardless, the Deacs must do a better job securing rebounds in the future, as the players in the ACC are pretty much always going to score given 3 or 4 straight good looks at the basket.
Overall, the Deacs continue to show signs of improvement, but are still winless in the ACC. If Wake Forest can limit their turnovers and do a better job on the boards, they should be able to get into the win column more going forward, as the schedule should get slightly easier with road games against Virginia, Duke and even Georgia Tech (Deacs haven’t won in Atlanta since 2004) out of the way. The final score of this game really did not represent how the Deacs played, and I think that Wake Forest fans should be excited about the future of this team going forward.