Senior night in Durham is usually a highly emotional affair but there was a clear haze around Coach K’s Duke squad that they never quite shook. Even assistant Coach Jon Scheyer notes at halftime, where the Blue Devils could only muster a 1 point lead at the games midway point, that his team was playing uninspired and non-energetic basketball. Wake, for their part battled the Blue Devils tough from jump ball to final whistle.
In what was expected to be a proper drubbing ended up being a back and forth tussle. The Blue Devils were not sharp and it showed. From missing at least a baker’s dozen layups and dunks to turning the ball over 15 times and giving Wake Forest a 17 to 7 edge in points off of turnovers.
The Blue Devils found themselves down by 10 with 16:20 left in the second half and the game seemingly slipping away. The Blue Devils rallied to go on a 10-0 run that began with a Tre Jones 3 pointer. The Blue Devils and the Demon Deacons jockeyed back and forth until with 2:51 the Blue Devils were able to open up a 5 point lead. Wake was not deterred and battled back to within 1 point. A turnover with 7 second remaining by junior gave the ball to Wake with a chance to win and a layup by Chaundee Brown rolled off the rim to give Duke the win 71-70.
For Wake, after a slow half from Brandon Childress, the junior guard came alive in the second half scoring 17 of his 19 points. Chaundee Brown led the Demon Deacons in scoring with 21 points, he also added 10 rebounds to tie for the team lead.
The Blue Devils got another monster game from freshmen R.J. Barrett who finished the game with 28 points, his 22nd 20-point game to extend the ACC freshman record, on 11-23 shooting, but the freshman forward also committed 7 of the 15 Duke turnovers. The only other double digit scorer for the Blue Devils was freshman guard Tre Jones with 13 points, Jones also dished 3 assists and pulled down 8 rebounds. Duke got very little from freshman forward Cam Reddish who was saddled with foul trouble and only played 26 minutes. Reddish turned the ball over 3 times on offensive fouls and sat for large stretches. Reddish finished with just 6 points.