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LIVE BLOG: Wake Forest 70, Duke 68 (FINAL)

WAKE 70 DUKE 68 -- FINAL SCORE -- On the inbounds play, Duke was ready for Teague, but they forgot about James Johnson who cut sharply to the basket for a contested but all-too-easy layup.

Nolan Smith admitted responsibility on the last play, acknowledging he and Henderson miscommunicated on a switch, which was why Johnson was so open. It was the play Wake head coach Dino Gaudio had drawn up, hoping the Blue Devils would make a mistake on their switching. He was right.

So how far will Duke fall? No. 3 Pittsburgh lost on the road tonight at Villanova, and No. 5 North Carolina is in a tight one with Florida State right now. No. 2 UConn cruised past DePaul, and No. 4 Oklahoma has an easy one this weekend at Iowa State (talk about a favorable schedule...the Sooners have 3-4 tough games the rest of the season, and they'll probably be favored in all but a roadie at Texas).

It's a fair bet the Blue Devils drop to No. 5 or so, behind UConn, Oklahoma, UNC and Wake--if, of course, those teams survive the weekend (and the Tar Heels survive tonight).

WAKE 68 DUKE 68 -- 2.6 SECOND HALF -- Or iso Henderson. Same thing, right?

Wake out of the timeout has to look for Teague on an elbow screen with Johnson or Aminu rolling for a possible lob. Duke could come with Zoubek as a pre-emptive response. Scheyer or Smith will be on Teague, but you're switching all screens right now.

WAKE 68 DUKE 66 -- 17.4 SECOND HALF -- What play do you call? If I'm Coach K right now, I'm running pick-and-roll with Henderson and Singler, with Scheyer, Smith and Paulus on the wings.

WAKE 67 DUKE 60 -- 3:38 SECOND HALF -- Duke has some life, mainly because the Deacons have gone 4-of-8 from the line since the last TV timeout, including two missed front-ends. But a Weaver dunk and Henderson offensive foul have given Wake a seven-point lead again with the ball.

The offensive rebounding well has gone dry in the second half for the Blue Devils, and as a result they haven't been able to overcome their still-horrendous shooting from the field.

Oh, and Wake's fans are doing the wave. Condescending scoff.

WAKE 61 DUKE 50 -- 7:52 SECOND HALF -- Ishmael Smith has taken over the game, with three points and two assists on three consecutive possessions. Duke's not getting any clean looks, while that's all Wake is getting.

Eight minutes and that how long Duke will be No. 1?

WAKE 44 DUKE 36 -- 15:56 SECOND HALF -- Some technical difficulties at halftime. Lots of momentum changes already after half, with Henderson taking over the Duke offense and Wake penetrating the Duke defense at will for layups and dunks. But Chas McFarland just picked up his fourth foul, meaning the Deacs may go smaller for a stretch.

WAKE 33 DUKE 28 -- HALFTIME -- Jeff Teague hits a leaning three-pointer in the final seconds of the first half (and Duke narrowly--and perhaps illegally--averts disaster on the inbounds) to give the Deacons a five-point advantage at the intermission.

I liked the 1-3-1 zone the Blue Devils threw at Wake on that final possession, which caused a lot of confusion until Duke abandoned it on the inbounds. At the same time, Teague would have made that shot against any defense.

Caught a little of an ESPN pow-wow outside the press room among Dick Vitale, Pat Forde and Howie "The Schwab" Schwartz. The topic? How much they hate Mike Patrick. (I can only assume, being that I didn't actually hear what they were saying.)

Other emissaries at the game include SI's Seth Davis and Dick Weiss, who showed up fashionably late at the 18:00 mark.

Here are some intriguing first-half statistics: Let's do some math first. Duke and Wake have each made 11 shots, but the Blue Devils are shooting 28.2 percent and the Demon Deacons have shot 47.8 percent. What gives? Duke has attempted 39 shots to Wake's 23, a product of three fewer turnovers and eight more offensive rebounds. It's almost even when the Blue Devils miss, as Wake has 16 defensive boards to Duke's 12 offensive boards.

Henderson (3/7), Scheyer (2/6) and Singler (2/7) will have to do better than that in the second half. Scheyer and Aminu are the game's leading scorers with nine points apiece.

WAKE 26 DUKE 24 -- 2:39 FIRST HALF -- With Brian Zoubek looking about as bad as he has all year, Duke got an unexpected lift off the bench from Miles Plumlee, who executed a beautiful pick-and-roll with Scheyer for an easy dunk--although it wasn't as nice as Aminu's follow dunk a few minutes earlier. The Demon Deacons are doing a better job on the glass, but the Blue Devils are still getting some second chances.

All in all, Duke has to be happy that it's only down two. Singler hasn't done much offensively--in his defense, he is crashing the boards--and no baskets have really come easy for the Blue Devils. But when you play great defense, you're never out of it.

WAKE 21 DUKE 18 -- 7:00 FIRST HALF -- The Blue Devils have eight second-chance points already, and that's keeping them in the game at this point. The shots haven't come easily, although a Scheyer three and Henderson's pull-up jumper were their first two good, in-rhythm shots.

McFarland is giving Wake a lift inside, beating Zoubek down the court.

The chess match continues. When Duke brought in Henderson to go back to three guards, Wake responded with Johnson for three forwards. Dino Gaudio is playing this like a hockey game--the home team making its line switches last.

Duke is 7-of-25 from the floor with one assist and four turnovers. Wake is 8-of-17 with three assists and five turnovers. Those extra looks at the basket better continue for the Blue Devils.

WAKE 14 DUKE 9 -- 11:11 FIRST HALF -- Where are the points going to come from? Scheyer clearly isn't in rhythm, Henderson has had problems in the post and Wake's help defense has been outstanding so far.

The chess match between Gaudio and Krzyzewski is already going on, as the first time Duke went big with David McClure at the three, Wake reacted by going three guards with Ish Smith, Teague and L.D. Williams.

Wake's already made a trio of floaters; they know Duke likes to take charges (Aminu excepted).

The Demon Deacons have Chas McFarland guarding baseline inbounds passes, making it awfully difficult on Scheyer to find anyone except the outlet. Don't expect any lobs to Henderson this game off the inbounds.

WAKE 6 DUKE 4 -- 15:42 FIRST HALF -- Some early observations:

--Wake's pack line defense has limited Duke's penetration, and that's why you've seen the Blue Devils settling for outside jumpers. But, the Demon Deacons are switching a lot on screens, and Duke has to take advantage of mismatches like Chas McFarland guarding Gerald Henderson (which was the case last possession when Jon Scheyer turned it over).

--On the other end of the court, Nolan Smith is pressuring Jeff Teague, but that's just led to a blocking foul and an easy Teague floater.

--Henderson is checking James Johnson and vice versa. Johnson has a nice floater in the lane while Henderson has a putback. It'll be interesting to see how G holds his own on the glass all night against a guy 6-foot-9.

PREGAME -- We're coming to you live from Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (or LJVMC, from here on out), site of the biggest game of the young college basketball season between Duke, back on top of the national rankings for the first time in over 1,000 days, and No. 6 Wake Forest.

I'm right behind the basket on the right side of your television screen, which means it's kind of difficult for me to see if the ball goes in the basket. Other than that, though, I'm good.

It looks like a capacity crowd of 14,655 (or maybe it's 14,566) clad in black, gold and yellow (they couldn't settle on one shade of gold). But the lights are going down, the starters are coming out and it's just about time for tip-off.


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