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Duke remains unbeaten with win over Wake Forest

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Updated 10 months ago on
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Duke found out it could respond in tight situations after a bunch of convincing outcomes.

The second-ranked Blue Devils made their final five shots from the field along with several clutch free throws to escape with a 73-65 victory against upset-minded Wake Forest on Wednesday night at Lawrence Joel Coliseum.

“When (Wake Forest) took the lead, all of a sudden these kids, it wasn’t a perfect performance by a long shot, but there was a sense of urgency,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We were almost perfect down the stretch.”

Freshman forward Justise Winslow scored a season-best 20 points as Duke ended up with its first triumph with a single-digit margin.

“Guys have to grow up because they’re going to be in a number of these kinds of games,” Krzyzewski said. “We can play better.”

Duke (14-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) remained one of three unbeaten teams in the country, but the Blue Devils trailed with less than five minutes left.

Wake Forest went ahead 56-55 on guard Codi Miller-McIntyre’s three-point play at the 6:04 mark. Miller-McIntyre followed that 17 seconds later with a free throw.

Guard Quinn Cook’s three-point play with 4:52 regained the lead for Duke.

Blue Devils guard Matt Jones drained a 3-pointer and guard Tyus Jones converted a three-point play, giving Duke a 67-59 edge with 1:36 remaining.

It was a frustrating final stretch for the Demon Deacons (8-8, 0-3), who are still in search of their first conference victory under first-year coach Danny Manning.

“There were good things, but we didn’t finish,” Manning said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to right the ship.”

Cook, who scored nine points in the last five minutes, and center Jahlil Okafor finished with 12 points apiece for the Blue Devils. Reserve guard Rasheed Sulaimon added 10 points for Duke, which has 14 consecutive victories to begin a season for the seventh time — all under Krzyzewski.

“We did what we wanted to do, we came out with a win,” Okafor said. “We responded well. We refused to lose.”

Wake Forest forward Devin Thomas poured in 24 points. He was coming off a 31-point outing three nights earlier against Louisville. Miller-McIntyre scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half.

The Demon Deacons pulled even at 34-34 early in the second half before Duke’s 12-3 run, sparked by consecutive 3-pointers by Winslow and capped by his dunk on a fast break.

Then the Blue Devils went a stretch of seven consecutive missed shots before Okafor’s bucket built the lead to 48-42.

Wake Forest used forward Cornelius Hudson’s second 3-pointer of the half and a jumper from guard Madison Jones to pull within 48-47. Hudson’s 3s were Wake Forest’s only long-range baskets in 13 attempts.

Wake Forest limited Okafor, who pulled in 11 rebounds, to six shots from the field, but paid for that in other ways. The Blue Devils made 8 of 18 3-point attempts.

“We did a good job containing him, but we had to get back to their shooters,” Miller-McIntyre said. “We needed to do better.”

Duke led 32-27 at halftime despite committing 10 turnovers and throwing up a couple of late 3-point airballs.

“We were not as strong with our finishes,” Krzyzewski said. “I thought we weren’t as strong as we have been.”

Wake Forest scored the game’s first six points, marking the Blue Devils’ largest deficit of the season. Duke trailed for only a total of 6:13 across its first 13 games, so playing from behind for almost four minutes of the first half was a rarity.

The Blue Devils went ahead 12-8, but seven turnovers in barely eight minutes kept them from pulling away as Wake Forest scored on a couple of uncontested breakouts.

Okafor didn’t attempt a shot in the first 14 minutes, but Winslow’s nine points before halftime picked up the slack.

Wake Forest missed all eight of its first-half 3-point attempts.

NOTES: These teams faced off for the 242nd time, making it the most-played series in the ACC. … The last time the teams met, Duke’s eight-game winning streak in the series ended in March, with Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski becoming light-headed and requiring medical

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