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No. 2 Blue Devils hit road to take on Wake Forest

After rolling to their 12th consecutive win in a charged contest against Maryland Wednesday, the Blue Devils could face another emotional challenge at Wake Forest Sunday.

Despite being in the middle of the pack in the conference, the Demon Deacons (15-8, 5-5 in the ACC) are far from just another ACC foe. Duke's visit to Lawrence Joel Coliseum Sunday at 7:30 p.m. will mark its first game against Wake Forest since former head coach Skip Prosser passed away July 26, 2007 of a heart attack.

Prosser's death shocked the basketball world, including Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and each game has taken on a bit more meaning for the Demon Deacons.

"We lost one of the best coaches and best people in our sport," Krzyzewski said of Prosser. "He was ultimately respected for his coaching ability, his quick humor and, most importantly, for being a quality person. We lost him far too soon."

The Demon Deacons promoted associate head coach Dino Gaudio to replace Prosser Aug. 8. At his introductory press conference, Gaudio said it was "a very bittersweet moment." Gaudio's team has channeled its emotion, however, to defy expectations in his first year at the helm. Picked to finish 11th in the ACC before the season, Wake Forest has stayed competitive in the conference, notching wins over Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech as well as a non-conference defeat of Brigham Young.

No. 2 Duke (22-1, 10-0), like the Demon Deacons, has performed better than expected this season-albeit at a much higher level than Wake Forest. The team is perfect in conference play, and it currently holds a two-game lead over second-place North Carolina.

The Blue Devils have hit 54-of-127 shots from beyond the arc in their last five games, propelling themselves past top-tier ACC teams such as the Tar Heels and Maryland. Duke looks to maintain its offensive flow and transition game to win in Lawrence Joel Coliseum, where the Demon Deacons are 13-1 this year.

The Blue Devils also will be hoping for a healthier Gerald Henderson. The sophomore guard has been hampered recently by a wrist injury and has had a difficult time contributing on offense. He still has been able to chip in defensively, however, recording five steals and pulling down seven boards against the Terrapins Wednesday.

"[Henderson's] wrist has been really bad for the last week," Krzyzewski said. "His scoring's affected because of that wrist, and hopefully with the day off [Thursday] and we don't play till Sunday, he'll get some recovery."

Even with Henderson injured, the Blue Devils have been able to maintain their winning ways, largely due to the play of freshman Kyle Singler. The 6-foot-8 forward has averaged 21.3 points and nine rebounds over the last three contests, posting double-doubles against North Carolina and Boston College. He was named the ACC Rookie of the Week Monday and added National Rookie of the Week honors Wednesday-. With the way he's playing, though, he--and Duke-could be headed for even more accolades.

"Forget about Freshman of the Week," Krzyzewski said. "He's one of the better players in the league right now."


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