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One word for Duke men's basketball vs. Wake Forest: Energizing

The Blue Devils received major energy boosts from Jaemyn Brakefield and other reserves Wednesday.
The Blue Devils received major energy boosts from Jaemyn Brakefield and other reserves Wednesday.

The Blue Zone has you covered with a one-word summary of Duke's road win over Wake Forest:

One word: Energizing

Duke came out firing on the road at Wake Forest Wednesday night. Despite star freshman forward Jalen Johnson opting out of the remainder of the season, the Blue Devils arguably looked the best they have all year. Duke's 84-60 statement victory can be credited to energy and aggression from the jump. 

The Blue Devils' ball movement was exceptional, with all five players on the court moving and coordinating. This created open shots all night. Duke had 17 assists, none more impressive than senior guard Jordan Goldwire’s dish to freshman center Mark Williams for a powerful jam early in the second half. This energy was critical for the Blue Devils because it resulted in their execution was crisp from the start of the contest, helping them avoid the slow starts that have plagued them throughout this season. 

One stat: Duke’s 37 Rebounds to Wake Forest’s 28

The Blue Devils out-rebounding Wake Forest accurately represented their success inside the paint Wednesday. Duke looked alive on the glass, with multiple players going up for blocks and rebounds after practically every shot. The Blue Devils limited second-chance opportunities for the Demon Deacons with their 26 defensive rebounds, while securing plenty of extra possessions for themselves with 11 offensive rebounds. Wake Forest lagged in this area with 20 and eight defensive and offensive rebounds, respectively. 

Williams, DJ Steward and Jaemyn Brakefield contributed greatly to Duke’s success on the boards, with seven, seven and five rebounds, respectively, in the game. Brakefield especially seems to be stepping up amidst Johnson’s reduced minutes and eventual absence, recording 16 minutes against Wake Forest and 14 against N.C. State. The last two games mark the first time Brakefield finished with double digit minutes since early January against Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils rounded out their rebounding nicely with Wendell Moore Jr., Matthew Hurt, and Jeremy Roach each recording four boards. 

Duke also did an impressive job limiting Wake Forest’s key rebounders. Demon Deacon forward Ody Oguama was held to just 3 rebounds, half of his season average of 5.9 per game. 

One player: Matthew Hurt

Sophomore forward Matthew Hurt once again shined for the Blue Devils, and for the second time against the Demon Deacons this year. Although his season-high 26 points from the first matchup with Wake Forest still stands, his performance was more efficient in Winston-Salem. Hurt posted 22 points, shooting 8-for-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Based on those numbers, Hurt was an automatic bucket to say the least. 

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