ACC Basketball: Duke 101, Wake Forest 91
By Bret Strelow
DURHAM ó Mike Krzyzewski ambled away from the bench and pumped his right fist as he implored the Cameron Crazies to make more noise prior to the announcement of Duke’s starting lineup.
Krzyzewski, his sportcoat long ago discarded, was just as emotional at the conclusion of the ninth-ranked Blue Devils’ 101-91 home win against eighth-ranked Wake Forest on Sunday night.
Gerald Henderson scored a career-high 35 points and exited to a rousing ovation after Jon Scheyer made a free throw with 29 seconds left. A wide-eyed Krzyzewski smiled as he awaited Henderson’s arrival with open arms, and the two shared a lengthy embrace.
Scheyer hit another free throw to cap a performance in which he totaled a career-high 30 points, and Krzyzewski bear-hugged him as he left the court.
“I told them, ‘I’m not going to tell you we have to win it; I’m going to tell you we’re going to win it,’ ” Krzyzewski said. “I think the anticipation of doing something should help us better than the expectation of having to do it.”
A significant drop in the ACC standings was at stake for the Blue Devils (22-5, 8-4) and Demon Deacons (20-5, 7-5). The winner moved into a three-way tie for second place, and the loser fell to fifth.
Henderson and Scheyer combined for the most points by two players in a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and Duke needed every bit of that production to hold off a Wake team that trailed 41-19 with six minutes left in the first half.
The Demon Deacons, who shot 61 percent for the game, pulled within three points six times and two points on two occasions. Jeff Teague scored 28 points, and James Johnson had 11 rebounds while matching his career high of 26 points.
“If someone would have said we were going to score 91 points and lose, I think I would have called them a liar,” Wake coach Dino Gaudio said.
The Demon Deacons went into halftime facing a 51-40 deficit and closed within three with more than 14 minutes remaining. Duke led 80-78 before Scheyer drew a foul on a 3-pointer and made three free throws to start a 13-4 run.
The shot clock was winding down when Henderson dribbled to his right, pulled up against Ishmael Smith and drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 93-82 advantage. The Blue Devils chewed up most of the shot clock on their next possession, and Scheyer ended it with another clutch 3-pointer.
Henderson closed his eyes and forcefully hugged Scheyer to celebrate.
“First off, G played great,” Scheyer said. “He was an animal out there, and I think for both of us we’ve been through a lot together.
“We see this as a big chance for us at the end of the year. We have a lot of confidence in our team, and we just want to win so bad. I think both of us kind of fed off each other.”
Henderson eclipsed his previous career high by 10 points but fell short of 40, which he jokingly set as a goal after watching Kobe Bryant score 39 against the New Orleans Hornets on Friday.
Henderson said the look he received from Krzyzewski in the closing seconds revealed a sense of pride.
“It’s really interesting the kind of viewpoint he has and the vision he has for all of us ó the finished product,” Henderson said. “That’s part of the reason I came to Duke. I’ve been talking to him throughout the season about me becoming a great player. I just feel like today was my best game.”
Scheyer again assumed more responsibility as a ball-handler with Krzyzewski starting freshman Elliot Williams for the second consecutive game.
Williams, inserted into the lineup to apply defensive pressure on opposing guards, made three steals near Duke’s basket in the first two minutes. He played 32 minutes and equaled the 11 points he scored last week in a win against St. John’s.
Krzyzewski’s pregame antics set the tone for a fast start.
“Whatever you can do ethically, legally and physically you’ve got to try to do,” Krzyzewski said. “It wasn’t about us; it was about our kids. They responded to a lot of game pressure, hit big shots.
“Wake Forest is a really, really good basketball team. We could not stop them, but they couldn’t stop us either.”
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