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The Blue Devils fall in their first road test to Wake Forest 81-70. The Blue Devils rallied in the second half to cut a 15-point margin to single digits after being with an 81-70 win Tuesday night in Winston-Salem.

Duke (10-3, 1-1), which had its NCAA-leading eight-game road winning streak snapped, was led by three in double figures, including a career night from sophomore Jaylen Blakes, who scored 17 points off the bench. The Demon Deacons (9-4, 1-1) owned a 37-29 rebounding advantage and hit 22 of 26 free throws to hold off Duke’s rally.

Freshman Mark Mitchell scored 14 points, while graduate Ryan Young finished a board shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Duke, playing its first game in nine games, was without freshmen Dereck Lively II and Dariq Whitehead — each out due to illness.

The Good

  • Jaylen Blakes had a career game scoring 17 points off the bench.

The Bad

  • The Blue Devils were out-rebounded significantly by Wake (37-29).
  • Free throw disparity. The Demon Deacons were 22-26 while Duke only managed 10-14.
  • Duke allowed 21 points off of their turnovers.
  • Defensively Duke was bad and had very little answer for Wake, who hit on 49% of their shots.

My Thoughts on Last Night and the Blue Devils in General

Coaching versus Execution

I think it’s very easy to just say this was about a lack of coaching but in my humble opinion you can’t coach hunger, desire, experience or effort – you certainly can’t coach energy. If your idea is to tell your team to NOT take open shots then you aren’t a coach that will ever land another recruit nor will your team trust you. Duke cannot continue to take and miss 3’s at this rate if they aren’t playing defense and rebounding like they had been prior to this game. You can coach your team to take the best shot available but you cannot shoot those shots for them. You cannot win in any basketball league if you cannot make 3’s, do I believe this team can make them, yes but what happens in practice doesn’t always materialize in games. That’s a tale as old as time.

There were instances of guys settling for harder shots than they needed, there were instances of over penetrating and not kicking out. There were also plenty of shots missed at the rim as well as not being strong with the ball. The missed shots at the rim were a killer, I can recall at least 2 by Kyle Filipowski, 1 or 2 by Mark Mitchell and at least 1 by Ryan Young these are shots that you have to make on the road to win the game in the ACC. That’s at least 10 points left at the rim. Not sure you can attribute that to coaching. There was no ball movement and not very much movement of guys without the basketball. These are all things that can be addressed with film – something this team has not had very much time to do as a unit. I would assume and hope that with more practice hopefully they can install a few more sets as well.


My problem with Duke in this game was defensively last night. When you haven’t had the time to install new things offensively you are going to have to depend more on your defense in order to get more opportunities. Duke did not defend at a high level and certainly didn’t rebound the basketball as well as they have been. Duke did not recover well enough defensively either, they didn’t hustle down in transition and they plain didn’t stick to defensive principles. People love to harp on the fact that they didn’t score a lot of points but the better your defense, the less points you need to score.


Opening Statement: 

“Well first of all, credit to Wake. They outplayed us. They were the hungrier team and I thought their sense of urgency coming off their game on Saturday, you could really tell, and for us, we didn’t have that. They outrebounded us. I thought the free throws were key, you know, they got to the free throw line, they made 22 out of 26. That’s on us. They drove the ball stronger than we did and we probably fouled a few times when we shouldn’t have, but credit them. All the credit in the world goes to them. We have time now to regroup and address the things we need to do better and obviously there’s a lot of them, but credit to Wake. I thought that experience, playing on the road, hurt us. For a lot of our guys it’s their first time going through it but credit to them.” 

On team’s health and how frustrating it is to be down players: 

“Well, we’ve been healthy (injury-wise). It’s we got sick. It’s how it goes. It’s how it goes. Other teams go through it, and it’s not ideal of course. You look at that time from when you had exams but also leading up to this game practice time, we didn’t have our group together. But we did have this group. We still should have done better. I should’ve coached them better and all that. But it’s how it goes.” 

On whether using lots of different lineups will help later in the season: 

“I think all this helps. Being in this environment, playing shorthanded, we played without our full team in about half our games or whatever it is. You have to keep perspective but you also have to hate the result. That’s part of what makes you a competitor, whether it’s as a coach or as a player. And so for us, I think it’s important understanding the room we have to grow and we just have to keep going. And also we need to address the things that we need to cut out now because there’s a sense of urgency. In the ACC, you have to win these games. You have to come back and win against Florida State. You have to win on the road. And so for us, I think it’s that balance. But being in this environment, playing in the games leading up to this have been really valuable for us.” 

On whether he sensed whether this type of performance might happen: 

“No. Well, we knew the circumstances were different for us. I mean, having a 10-day break, and another 11-day break, we haven’t, that wasn’t necessarily by plan if it wasn’t just how it worked out this year with the way our schedule was. But for us, I thought we would be ready to go. We’ve have a lot of first this year. And this was our first road game. And I thought we were, when we missed some shots, we were a little, that impacted our defense and taken aback by it. And we can’t be that fragile. We need to be toughminded and defend, which is who we’ve been most of the year. So for me, I think it’s a great chance to really look at everything and go back to the drawing board and address the team when we come back and make a plan to move forward. But it’s disappointing obviously to lose this one.”


On what the team was missing defensively overall: 

“Our defense has always started with guarding the ball. And they just drove us like crazy, you know. They do a good job of moving and spacing, and they just got in our paint at will. We just need to be solid and guard the ball. You know, it’s hard, you’re playing out of rotations really the whole game with that. It starts there, obviously you can miss Dereck [Lively’s] rim protection. Him just being out there, changes the game. But Ryan [Young], I thought he really battled, what he did. We didn’t give him the ball enough. He basically, he almost had a double-double, Jaylen Blakes really guarded and gave us great energy. We have to play like those two guys did tonight. And I thought they set a great example. But we need everybody to play that way.” 



On what the difference was rebounding wise: 

“It’s inexcusable. It’s toughness and it’s effort. It’s not much else that goes into rebounding and we know that we take pride in that being a strength of ours. And it was embarrassing that we couldn’t win that tonight. And as Coach [Scheyer] mentioned, it was all effort and they out-toughed us and they came out right from the jump and they wanted it more than us.” 

On when he noticed a lack of urgency: 

“They were able to get in our paint pretty easily and that’s something that we’ve been able to do successfully in the past is come out and guard teams and take guys out of their games. And they were able to get to the free throw line very easily against us and get into the paint and maneuver. And again, it’s just offensively things come and go, but defense has to be a thing that remains stable for us across the board no matter how we’re playing, how we’re shooting the ball, our defense can’t waver. So again, I think the first thing, they got to the free throw line very easily and they were able to get into the paint.” 

On how much of an emphasis Wake Forest’s size was and how they tried to neutralize it: 

“They’re a pretty different team than what we’ve played so far and they’ve a lot of key guys. We knew that Appleby, coming in, he was a really good distributor. I think he finished with eight assists tonight. Obviously he’s a good player and they were able to get a few lobs like that and obviously they beat us in the rebounding battle, but I didn’t think, we’ve played against big teams, I don’t think size has affected us too much in the past. I think truly it was just that we came out lethargic tonight, they jumped on us, and we never could dig ourselves out of the hole that we put ourselves in in the first half. Keeps on coming back to effort and not wanting it as much tonight.”