After pulling out a gritty road win at Virginia Wednesday, the Blue Devils prevailed in a high-scoring affair against Wake Forest Saturday. Duke came away with a 99-94 victory to extend its winning streak to seven and move to 10-4 in conference play to keep pace close to the top of the ACC standings.

Revisiting the three keys to the game

  • Get Grayson going again: Junior Grayson Allen took on more of a facilitator role once again and finished with 11 points and six assists. Although the guard’s statline seemed pedestrian, Allen’s penetration set up multiple open looks down low and on the perimeter in the second half. The Jacksonville, Fla., native also appeared to have more rhythm with his jump shot and finished 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
  • Establish the inside game: The Blue Devils’ ability to connect from beyond the arc limited their need to look for points down low. Graduate student Amile Jefferson had one of his best games since returning from his right-foot bone bruise to finish with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Freshman Marques Bolden provided a nice lift off the bench with six points—his highest scoring output since Jan. 21 against Miami.
  • Maintain the defensive intensity: Neither team showed much of an inclination to defend Saturday afternoon. After giving up 83 points to the Demon Deacons in the first matchup, the Blue Devils struggled to contain Wake Forest once again. Despite connecting on just five 3-pointers, the Demon Deacons kept pace with Duke by attacking the hoop at will and taking care of the basketball with just four turnovers. Wake Forest shot 50.7 percent from the field, and its 94 points were the most the Blue Devils have allowed in more than a year.

Three key stats

  • 7: The Demon Deacons were aggressive attacking the hoop from the get-go and finished with seven more free-throw attempts than Duke. The Blue Devils have done a better job of defending without fouling during their seven-game winning streak, but reverted to some of their old bad habits Saturday.
  • 0: The bench duo of Bolden and freshman Harry Giles did not see the floor in the second half, as Duke relied on graduate student Amile Jefferson to close the game. Giles picked up three first-half fouls and finished with just four minutes on the floor after playing much of the second half against Virginia.
  • 59.0: One positive from the afternoon was the Blue Devil offense, which finished with a 59.0 percent mark from the floor. Duke assisted on 19 of its 36 baskets and moved the ball well to generate open looks across the court, leading to 13 made 3-pointers.

Three key plays

  • 14:51 remaining, second half: With the Blue Devils starting to separate from the Demon Deacons, Matt Jones gets a feed from Frank Jackson and cans a triple to stretch the lead to nine. Although Duke looked poised to run away with it at that point, Wake Forest battled back to push the game down to the wire.
  • 2:12 remaining, second half: Luke Kennard connects on a layup to push Duke’s lead to 93-90 after a quick 9-2 run for the Demon Deacons made it a one-point game.
  • 0:35 remaining, second half: Wake Forest guard Bryant Crawford drives past Jones and has a chance to give the Demon Deacons the lead with a point-blank look at the rim. But the layup falls off the mark and freshman Jayson Tatum secures the board to protect the Blue Devils' one-point lead.

And the Duke game ball goes to…. Luke Kennard

Although it did not quite compare to the sophomore’s 30-point second-half performance in the teams’ earlier matchup, Kennard was crucial once again Saturday. The Franklin, Ohio, native led the way in the second half for Duke with 15 points and proved to be a tough cover for the Demon Deacons once again as he finished 9-of-15 from the floor with a team-high 23 points.

And the Wake Forest game ball goes to…. John Collins

The sophomore put his team on his back, as he has for much of the season, and torched the Blue Devils for 31 points and 15 rebounds. Collins was an efficient 13-of-18 from the field and was able to get the looks he wanted throughout the game. Wake Forest frequently forced switches where Collins was guarded by smaller defenders and it paid off, with the forward racking up easy turnarounds and shots at the rim.