No, this regular season has not run out of shock value, even if it is nearly over. Take Wednesday night in Winston Salem.
Wake Forest 113, Duke 101, two overtimes. Another turn in the road few saw coming. How oddball was this one? Let us count the ways.
That was the most points scored against Duke in 31 years, matched the most ever poured upon a Mike Krzyzewski defense, and tied for the second-most in school history. The record is 122, and Wake Forest was responsible for that, too, in 1975. Beware the Demon Deacons, when they get hot against the Blue Devils.
This was the first time in 25 years the Blue Devils scored 100 points in a game, and lost. They’d won 71 in a row since. They were 188-5 all-time when scoring 100 before Tuesday.
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Wake Forest tipped off this game in 14th place in the ACC, and loser of 11 in a row to Duke.
The Demon Deacons had also dropped 10 of their previous 13 games, including Jan.11 at Duke — by 31 points. That one ended 90-59, meaning Wake Forest improved its offensive output against the Blue Devils by 54 points in just over six weeks. Scoring was not a Demon Deacons issue late Tuesday. They put up 34 points in the two overtimes alone.
Duke sank 31 of 34 free throws, but was still outscored from the line 37-31. The officials were holding their fingers in the air a lot to tell how many free throws. The two teams combined to shoot 84 of them.
Duke had five players score in double figures. Wendell Moore Jr. had a career-high 25 points, and took only eight shots. Tre Jones flirted with a triple-double with 24 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Justin Robinson, a graduate student who had played 48 minutes and scored 13 points all season before Tuesday, came off the bench for 15 minutes, six points and three blocked shots. All impressive numbers, and all not enough to make up for allowing 113 points. And this is a Blue Devils team that announced itself early in the season with its defense.
Brandon Childress was 0-for-10 for Wake Forest the first 39 minutes and 44 seconds. But that was, like, just clearing his throat. Then he buried a 3-pointer with 15.5 seconds left to tie the game to help force overtime, and added five more field goals after that.
Duke blew a late nine-point lead in under 66 seconds.
Coach K: "We didn't play like we practiced. We played young... We've played really good basketball, but we didn't tonight."— Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) February 26, 2020
Duke went into the game ranked No. 6 in the NCAA’s NET rankings, just above schools such as Florida State and Maryland. Wake Forest was No. 109, just below Northern Colorado and Pacific.
The Blue Devils have lost to one ranked opponent this season — Louisville. And four unranked, including two from the state of North Carolina the past seven days — North Carolina State and Wake Forest. Oh, yeah, and also Stephen F. Austin.
What to make of all that? Krzyzewski was not a happy camper in his post-game press conference.
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The blown lead? "The last minute we just gave the ball up. There's no excuse for those two turnovers we had. You got to be strong with the ball.”
All the free throws? "I'm angry with us for fouling so much... We fouled, I'm not blaming the officials.”
His team? "We show our youth so much... This is our 28th game, you'd think we'd be older by now."
So it goes. In the past four days, Baylor, Gonzaga, Louisville and Duke all lost. Know what they have in common? They all are, or used to be, No. 1. Apparently, the surprises this season won’t stop until the games do.