College basketball: Duke 91, Wake Forest 73
By Joedy McCreary
DURHAM — Andre Dawkins kept knocking down 3-pointers for No. 4 Duke, and those noisy Cameron Crazies chanted “‘Dre all day.”
Turns out his hot streak only lasted one half — but that was more than enough to help the Blue Devils beat Wake Forest again.
Dawkins scored all 21 of his points in the first half, and Duke routed the Demon Deacons 91-73 on Thursday night for its 45th straight victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
He hit seven 3-pointers to help the Blue Devils (16-2, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) build a huge lead that was never seriously threatened.
“I feel like every shot I put up is going to go in,” Dawkins said.
Ryan Kelly finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for Duke, which shot 54 percent in claiming its fourth straight win in the series.
The Blue Devils moved within one of the school record for consecutive home victories and will match the mark if they beat Florida State on Saturday.
C.J. Harris had 20 points for Wake Forest (10-8, 1-3), which was coming off a 36-point home loss to North Carolina State and lost its third straight and fourth in five games.
“I liked a lot of things. We competed, we battled, we fought. We had some good shot opportunities ourselves. We didn’t make them,” Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “Duke has a lot of firepower, and they were able to display that and use that tonight. When Dawkins wasn’t making shots, other guys were making tough shots, too.”
Such as Austin Rivers, who scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half. Or Seth Curry, who finished with 14 points for Duke, which beat Wake Forest at Cameron for the 13th straight time and claimed its 64th straight win at home against unranked opponents while remaining the ACC’s only unbeaten team in conference play.
“With all of the weapons we have on the perimeter, it’s kind of, pick your poison,” Dawkins said.
Dawkins was 7 of 13 from the field with his baskets coming early and in bunches before taking only one shot after halftime, missing a 3.
Kelly, who came off the bench after starting 13 of the previous 14 games, finished 8 of 11 while coming up short of his second consecutive perfect shooting performance against Wake Forest. He hit all six of his shots in last season’s 24-point rout in Winston-Salem.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with who I’m playing against,” Kelly said. “I just came in tonight with confidence and was aggressive. When you get pulled out of the starting lineup, it’s kind of hard on you, no matter what, and you’ve got to show you’re willing to do whatever it takes for the team. I think I did that.”
Curry helped Duke pull away early in the second half by repeatedly finding lanes to the basket and turning them into easy layups. Rivers gave the Blue Devils their first 20-point lead with a free throw that made it 55-35 with 16:27 left.
Wake Forest — which hasn’t won in Durham since 1997 — didn’t get closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Travis McKie finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Tony Chennault added 13 points and Nikita Mescheriakov had 12 points for the Demon Deacons, who trailed for all but roughly 2 minutes of this one.
“We went out there (and) we competed,” Harris said. “That’s something we can be proud of, but we’re still upset that we lost.”
Dawkins’ big game came after coach Mike Krzyzewski inserted him into the starting lineup for the first time since the Ohio State loss two months ago, and brought Rivers — the ACC’s only freshman averaging in double figures — off the bench for the first time in his college career.
Rivers said he didn’t start because he wasn’t playing as hard as he should have been and Krzyzewski called him on it, with the freshman guard adding that he “realized that I need to mature in ways, and I didn’t — I need to keep doing that moving forward.” Rivers said he apologized to the team Wednesday and promised it wouldn’t happen again.
Meanwhile, Krzyzewski downplayed the shuffle as simply an attempt to evaluate a new combination of players.
“I don’t like the word ‘bench,’” he said. “Bench means that he sat on the bench. To me, he scored 20 points and played 32 minutes. Everybody should be benched like that. … When one guy isn’t starting, it doesn’t mean he’s awful. It means we’re looking at a little bit different thing or a way of doing the game.”
Either way, it was a wise move.
After Kelly gave the Blue Devils an early lift — scoring 10 of their first 25 points and needing just 111/2 minutes to reach double figures — it was Dawkins’ turn to take over.
With guard Tyler Thornton continually feeding him the ball, Dawkins hit six 3s in a span of 61/2 minutes. He twice pushed Duke’s lead to 16 by hitting from long range. The first came when he drilled two 3s in a 40-second span to make it 37-21 — and the second one had the Crazies chanting.
The Associated Press