College Basketball: Wake Forest at Duke - Blue Devils Favored
After bouncing back from two straight ACC losses, the 14th-ranked Blue Devils will look to continue their climb back up the conference standings when they host struggling Wake Forest on Thursday.
Duke avoided starting 0-3 in the conference for the first time since 1995-96 with an 85-63 win at Miami on Sunday. The idea of sitting at the bottom of the conference might have lit a fire under the Blue Devils, who shot a season-best 68.3 percent from the field.
The Blue Devils (14-3, 1-2) opened conference play with an overtime loss at home to Virginia Tech and also fell at Georgia Tech in a five-day span.
"We hate to lose," said leading scorer DeMarcus Nelson, who had 14 points against the Hurricanes. "Losing is not acceptable for this program. And so when we lose we take losses hard."
Freshman guard Jon Scheyer scored a season-high 25 points Sunday as the Blue Devils shot 81 percent in the first half. Duke topped 80 points for the first time since beating Columbia 86-43 on Nov. 12 to open the season.
Scheyer was 4-for-6 from 3-point range and made all 11 of his free throws.
"Tonight was one of those nights where I hit a couple early and felt good, and I just kept shooting it," Scheyer said.
"People think you always see Duke winning. Because we're here doesn't mean we're automatically going to win. And that's something we had to realize in those first two games."
The Blue Devils have a chance to gain some momentum as they face a Wake Forest (9-7, 1-3) team they've beaten four straight times before playing at North Carolina State - which is 1-3 in the ACC - on Saturday.
Duke will also look to extend its home winning streak over Wake Forest to 10 games. The Demon Deacons haven't won at Cameron Indoor Stadium since Jan. 11, 1997.
Wake Forest will be trying to avoid a third straight loss Thursday. The Demon Deacons shot 53.8 percent Saturday, but still lost 88-74 to North Carolina State.
The Wolfpack shot 60.7 percent, marking the second straight game and fourth time this season an opponent has shot better than 56.0 percent against Wake.
"We aren't giving ourselves a chance," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "But there is a lot of basketball left, and as I told the kids, I am not going to give up on them and they cannot give up on each other."
The Deacons have just two seniors on their roster, including leading scorer Kyle Visser, and have regularly started three freshmen this season. Sophomore forward Kevin Swinton scored a team-high 16 points against North Carolina State.
Thursday will mark the first time this season Wake Forest will face a Top 25 team.
Duke won all three meetings against Wake Forest last season, including a 78-66 victory in the ACC tournament.
by: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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