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Mitchell Northam | | March 5, 2019

Wake Forest nearly upsets No. 4 Duke, but a lucky roll saves the Blue Devils

Andy Katz breaks down his latest March Madness bracket

ESPN’s Rece Davis said it all: “How on earth did that shot not go in?”

Wake Forest’s Chaundee Brown lofted up a put-back lay-up attempt at the buzzer and it seemed like the ball touched every part of the rim.

Alas, instead of falling through the nylon, it fell to the floor.

The Demon Deacons lost an upset bid to No. 4 Duke in heartbreaking fashion. After leading by as many as 10 points and having a chance to win the game in the final seconds, Wake Forest fell 71-70 Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

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It seemed impossible — Wake Forest beating Duke — but the Demon Deacons nearly pulled it off.

Had they won, it would’ve been Wake Forest’s first win at Duke since 1997, when Tim Duncan was a senior for the Demon Deacons. It also would’ve been the first time since 2010 that Wake Forest had beaten a ranked team on the road.

Brown led Wake Forest with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Brandon Childress added 19 points, five rebounds and three assists.

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One of the things that undid Wake’s upset bid was its poor free throw shooting, as the Demon Deacons made just 58.3 percent of their shots from the charity stipe. Wake also shot just 30.4 percent from three-point range, 39.4 percent from the floor and had nine turnovers.

Duke was led by RJ Barrett’s 28 points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocks on a night where he set the single-season scoring record for a Blue Devils' freshman, previously held by Marvin Bagley.

Tre Jones added 13 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Blue Devils, who were playing their fourth straight game without freshman phenom Zion Williamson.

RANKINGS: Andy Katz Power 36 | Latest NET rankings | AP rankings 

The win for Duke keeps the Blue Devils in contention for the No. 2 seed in the ACC tournament. They’ll end their regular season Saturday with a trip up the road to No. 3 North Carolina.

Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.

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