Durham, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - The 11th-ranked Duke Blue Devils return home attempting to remain perfect at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday night when they tangle with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in an Atlantic Coast Conference bout.
Wake Forest has lost back-to-back games, both on its home floor, most recently dropping a 79-70 decision to Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon. The Deacons are a solid 14-8 overall this season but have gone just 4-5 in the ACC and 1-4 on the road.
In what was arguably the best game of the college basketball season so far, Duke fell on the wrong end of a thrilling 91-89 overtime contest with undefeated Syracuse on Saturday. The setback snapped a five-game winning streak for the Blue Devils, who are now 17-5 overall, 6-3 in conference action and have won all 12 of their home games.
Duke has a comfortable 162-77 lead over Wake Forest in the all-time series, which includes wins in seven straight meetings dating back to 2009.
The Deacons fell behind Georgia Tech at the half of their most recent game and could never get closer than five points of the lead in the second stanza. They were outshot from the field in the setback, 49.1 percent to 40.9 percent, and committed 16 turnovers. Travis McKie was outstanding in spite of defeat, making all 11 of his free-throw tries on his way to 26 points while adding four steals and two blocks on the other end of the floor. Codi Miller-McIntyre scored 10 points and Devin Thomas tallied seven points and nine rebounds.
Wake Forest has performed modestly on both ends of the floor this season, scoring 71.4 ppg, while yielding 68.3 ppg, while battling close with its opponents in both the rebounding (+0.6) and turnover (-0.5) battles. Miller- McIntyre pours in a team-best 14.4 ppg and has twice as many assists (84) as turnovers (42). Thomas mans the paint, putting up 11.3 ppg (on 55.6 percent field goal shooting) and 8.3 rpg, while McKie brings 11.0 ppg to the table.
The Blue Devils trailed for the majority of the second half against Syracuse before Rasheed Sulaimon drilled a 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer to force overtime, but in the extra session they could not muster up another heroic late bucket as they dropped the two-point heartbreaker. They shot just 43.1 percent from the field on the evening, compared to 57.4 percent for Syracuse, but they kept the game tight thanks to a 15-of-36 showing from beyond the arc. Sulaimon paced five players in double figures with 16 points to go with six assists. Jabari Parker tallied 15 points and nine rebounds, while Amile Jefferson, Rodney Hood and Andre Dawkins all poured in 14 points.
Duke has played outstanding offensive basketball this season, making 47 percent of its field goal tries, including 9.5 3-pointers per game at a 41.4 percent clip, for 81.9 ppg, which is more than enough to support its solid scoring defense (67.5 ppg). Parker is one of the nation's best playmakers with 18.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg and more than a block and a steal per contest. Hood is a strong second option with 17.3 ppg on 50.8 percent shooting, while Quinn Cook adds 12.2 ppg and 5.5 apg to the mix.