Duke came into LJVM Coliseum without a true road win on the season and after dropping their last game in awful fashion to the Miami Hurricanes at home, a get right game was definitely in order. Duke started the game hot, feeding the post and building an 8 point lead at the 15:51 mark on a Wendell Moore Jr free throw. Wake methodically bullied the Blue Devils and reclaimed the lead by 2 points but the Blue Devils seemed to come alive with a 13-6 run, fueled by 3-pointers by freshman Trevor Keels and AJ Griffin to end the half up 6 points.
Duke began the second half on a 20 to 6 run, capped off by an AJ Griffin 3-pointer to grow the lead to 20 and effectively put the game out of reach. The Demon Deacons would go on several runs but were never able to get within 11 points of the Blue Devils who notched their first road win 76-64.
The Blue Devils were paced by a pair of freshman in Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin. Banchero scored a team high 24 points on 11-23 shooting, the freshman forward also pulled down 5 defensive rebounds. In his first collegiate start, AJ Griffin scored a career-high 22 points on 8-11 shooting, going 3-5 from beyond the arc. Trevor Keels also scored in double-figures despite leaving the game late in the second half with an undisclosed injury. Keels scored 11 points and dished 4 assists. Wendell Moore Jr. didn’t have an offensive explosion for the Blue Devils, scoring only 7 points but was able to grab 5 rebounds, dished 6 assists to 0 turnovers and nabbed 3 steals. The story for Wendell was his defensive effort on Alondes Williams – while Williams scored 25 points he did it on 23 shots and was only 1-4 from beyond the arc with 7 turnovers.
The Blue Devils as a team shot 47% from beyond the arc going 7-15, while only giving up 2-16 (13%) to Wake. The Blue Devils were under their season average in turnovers at 7 for the game while turning Wake over 15 times which lead to 15 points off of turnovers, 11 off of fast breaks. The Blue Devils were out-rebounded 36-29 and gave up 11 second change points while not scoring any.
The story of the beginning of the game was simple, the Demon Deacons pushed the Blue Devils around and by the end of the first half Duke stepped it up. The second half saw the Blue Devils push back, it was clear there was a concerted effort to be more physical and to finish through contact. It was obvious the Blue Devils were still suffering with tired legs from the COVID stoppage but Duke powered through for this win.