Duke-Wake Forest Preview

Wins have been rare for Duke in most of its recent games at Wake

Forest, but this season’s trip to Winston-Salem could prove a

little more favorable.

The fourth-ranked Blue Devils will try to take advantage of

their struggling ACC rivals to claim only their second victory in

seven games at Lawrence Joel Coliseum on Saturday.

Since losing at Florida State on Jan. 12, Duke (17-1, 4-1) has

won its past two games by a combined 30 points as senior guard

Nolan Smith has continued to shine. Smith, averaging a

conference-best 20.2 points, scored 29 in a 76-60 win over Virginia

on Jan. 15 and 22 in a 92-78 victory at North Carolina State on

Wednesday night.

The Blue Devils also had six other players score at least seven

points, including Kyle Singler with 18. They need that help with

star freshman guard Kyrie Irving, who was averaging 17.4 points,

out indefinitely with an injured toe.

“Those seven guys outside of Nolan and Kyle, they just need

experience,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “They need to do things

like they did tonight and they need to do it a few more times so

they say, ‘That’s what I do. It’s not what I did on Jan. 19 against

State. That’s what I do.’ That’s how roles are developed, at least

for us.”

Wake Forest endured its lowest-scoring game in 52 seasons

Wednesday, a 74-39 loss at Georgia Tech. The Demon Deacons (7-12,

0-4) have lost by an average of 26.0 points during its worst start

in ACC play since dropping 11 in a row to begin the 1989-90


Under first-year coach Jeff Bzdelik, Wake Forest is averaging

69.8 points – second-fewest in the ACC – but is one of four

Division I teams with five players scoring at least 10.0 per


Freshman forward Travis McKie is averaging a team-high 13.1

points, but after the top five players, no one is averaging more

than 4.5 points. Duke, meanwhile, has seven players averaging at

least 5.4 points and leads the ACC with 85.9 per game.

One of those players, junior forward Miles Plumlee, posted

career highs of 19 points and 14 rebounds in a 90-70 home win over

Wake Forest last season. Singler had a team-best 21 points and 15

boards, while Smith scored 20 points.

Singler had 22 points and 12 rebounds in the previous trip to

Winston-Salem on Jan. 28, 2009, but the then-No. 1 Blue Devils fell

70-68 to sixth-ranked Wake Forest on a last-second layup.

As freshmen, Smith had 20 points and Singler added 17 at Wake

Forest but then-No. 2 Duke fell 86-73 in that game. The Blue

Devils’ previous win at Lawrence Joel was an 82-64 victory on Jan.

8, 2006, in which J.J. Redick scored 32 points.

Duke, seeking its 24th straight win in the state of North

Carolina, leads the series 157-77, but has lost 10 of 19 at

Lawrence Joel Coliseum.