After two games of slow starts, Duke, behind strong outside shooting and great performances from Ryan Kelly and Quinn Cook breezed past in-state rival Wake Forest to open conference play with an 80-62 win at home on Saturday afternoon.
Duke (14-0) connected on six 3-pointers to start the game. It wasn’t until nine minutes to go in the half whne a Mason Plumlee alley oop, from Quinn, recorded the first two-point basket for the Blue Devils.
The nation’s No. 1 team was going up against an inexperienced Wake Forest (7-6) team, starting three freshman. Led by the defense pressure from Cook and freshman Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke held the Demon Deacons without a field goal for over five minutes. The defense sparked Duke to go on a 16-4 run to break the game open.
“I think you take the shots that are there, and as long as they’re good shots, we have confidence,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “We’ll always shoot the 3 here, but if we can stay established with Mason inside and develop a little bit more of a driving game. . We’ll shoot them. We’re a good shooting team.”
Duke forced 13 of Wake Forest’s 19 turnovers in the first half.
Duke, led by 11 at half, got the lead up to 25 at one point in the second half, the young Wake Forest kept the intensity up, cutting the lead to to under 15.
“Our young team played hard,” Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “We need to play better.”
A solid debut for the Blue Devils in conference play. Duke showed how dangerous they can be when multiple players can get it going from behind the arc. The Duke offensive will continue to be well spaced with the amount of shooters on the floor. The Blue Devils penetrated the lane and found open shooters. While Cook couldn’t get his jumper to fall, 0-for-12, ended the night with a career-high 14 assists with only two turnovers.
Kelly was the star of the game with 22 points, of 6-of-9 (5-of-7 behind the arc) to go along with four rebounds. Seth Curry put his woes in a win against Davidson behind him to tie Kelly with 22 points for the team-high. Plumlee chipped in another double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Wake Forest was led by Travis McKie’s double-double of 22 points and 12 boards.
Next up for Duke: Clemson at home on Tuesday.
Terrence Payne is the interim editor for Devils in Durham. Follow him on Twitter@terrence_payne