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Late turnovers doom Duke at Wake Forest. 3 takeaways from the Blue Devils’ ACC road loss

Wake Forest continued its home dominance this season and, more importantly, added a signature win that will go a long way toward an NCAA Tournament berth.

Hunter Sallis scored 29 points and Andrew Carr added 16 of his 18 points after halftime as Wake Forest rallied past No. 8 Duke, 83-79, at the sold-out Joel Coliseum on Saturday.

Perfect in 15 home games this season, Wake Forest (18-9, 10-6 ACC) earned its second Quad 1 win, according to the NET ratings the NCAA selection committee uses to sort teams while completing the bracket.

Duke’s Kyle Filipowski (30) is helped off the court after the Wake Forest fans rushed the court after Wake Forest’s 83-79 victory over Duke at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.
Duke’s Kyle Filipowski (30) is helped off the court after the Wake Forest fans rushed the court after Wake Forest’s 83-79 victory over Duke at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.

An aggressive court-storming episode following the game, however, left Duke with a troubling situation. Wake Forest fans collided with Duke star Kyle Filipowski as the preseason All-America selection was walking off the floor. Filipowski, who suffered a knee injury, grimaced and had to be helped off the floor by teammates and team personnel.

That incident caused Duke coach Jon Scheyer to angrily call for an end to court stormings in the interest of safety. But, at the same time, he gave Wake Forest full credit for how well it played in beating his team.

“I don’t want this to take away at all from Wake,” Scheyer said. “They earned it. They deserve to win. Steve is a hell of a coach. I respect the heck out of him and his team. They’re really good.”

Duke (21-6, 12-4 ACC) saw its five-game winning streak end. The Blue Devils led 38-36 at halftime and built a 58-54 lead with 11:34 to play.

Duke’s Kyle Filipowski (30) is helped off the court after the Wake Forest fans rushed the court after Wake Forest’s 83-79 victory over Duke at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.
Duke’s Kyle Filipowski (30) is helped off the court after the Wake Forest fans rushed the court after Wake Forest’s 83-79 victory over Duke at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.

But Wake Forest rallied in a thrilling game that saw 14 lead changes and 14 ties, including seven ties and 11 lead-changes after halftime. The Deacons took the lead for good at 70-69 on a Carr 3-pointer from the corner with 5:52 to play.

The Blue Devils turned the ball over on their next two possessions and Cam Hildreth added another 3-pointer with 4:20 left giving Wake a 73-69 lead.

Hildreth scored 12 points for Wake, which shot 60.4% overall and 69.6% in the second half.

Filipowski led Duke with 17 points. The Blue Devils shot 54% and turned the ball over 11 times, including a miscue on a bad pass with 2.4 seconds left with Wake up 81-79.

“We just made too many turnovers,” Duke senior guard Jeremy Roach said. “We put that game on ourselves. I mean, we were supposed to win that game. We had the chance to win that game.”

Duke heads back to Durham to prepare for Wednesday night’s game with Louisville harboring a pair of injury concerns. In addition to Filipowski’s knee, Scheyer said freshman guard Caleb Foster has either an ankle or foot injury that limited him on Saturday. Foster started and scored all eight of his points in the first half. But only played five second-half minutes due to the injury.

“He had a terrific game,” Scheyer said. “Unfortunately, this has happened to us a few times this year, and we almost overcame it. You know, Caleb is just so important to our team. He’s making shots tonight. He’s just so steady.”

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Teams trade second-half surges

Duke and Wake Forest each delivered punches over the early portions of the second half, as one team tried to take control of the game and the other wouldn’t relent.

The Demon Deacons hit their first six shots after halftime, including three Sallis 3-pointers when Wake Forest’s ball movement caused the Blue Devils to leave him wide open. That barrage allowed Wake to build a 51-46 lead as the Deacs didn’t miss their first shot of the second half until 14:57 remained in the game.

After Scheyer called a timeout, Duke steadied itself. Ryan Young split two free throws and Tyrese Proctor nailed a 3-pointer. After Carr scored inside for Wake Forest, Proctor hit another 3-pointer and the game was tied at 53.

Carr split two free throws before Roach scored in the lane for Duke and McCain drilled a 3-pointer to put Duke up 58-54 with 11:34 to play.

But when Carr scored on a slam dunk with 10 minutes to play, the score was tied at 60 in a game befitting of two teams heading toward NCAA Tournament appearances.

Duke’s Jeremy Roach (3) looks for room around Wake Forest’s Kevin Miller (0) during the first half of Duke’s game against Wake Forest at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.
Duke’s Jeremy Roach (3) looks for room around Wake Forest’s Kevin Miller (0) during the first half of Duke’s game against Wake Forest at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.

Fouls hit Blue Devils early

Duke saw three players, including starting guard Jeremy Roach, get into foul trouble in the first half to alter Scheyer’s preferred substitution pattern.

Roach who has played a team-leading 31.4 minutes per game this season, was on the court for only eight minutes in the first half at Wake as a result of his fouls. He picked up his second foul at the 15:20 mark and didn’t return until 6:56 remained until halftime.

Reserve center Ryan Young played only six minutes for Duke but was called for three first-half fouls.

Mark Mitchell was called for two first-half fouls.

Despite all that, the Blue Devils managed to lead 38-36 at halftime.

Young fouled out after playing only 11 minutes, scoring three points with three rebounds. Both Mitchell and Roach made it to the end of the game with three fouls. But Filipowski and Proctor were called for four fouls each.



Wake basketball vibe is alive again

With Wake having only played in one of the past 13 NCAA tournaments, the lively basketball atmosphere that once energized the Joel Coliseum in the 1990s and 2000s had naturally dissipated.

That’s changed this season, with Wake winning all 15 home games, and Saturday was a big example.

The largest crowd to ever watch at Wake Forest home game, 14,744, packed the Joel Coliseum. It’s the program’s first sellout since 2017, and it created a wonderful ACC basketball atmosphere for the 261st meeting between Tobacco Road rivals Duke and Wake Forest.

Duke’s Scheyer found it comical that anyone would consider Wake Forest not worthy of making the NCAA Tournament’s field.

“This is an example that they need to be in the tournament,” Scheyer said. “What are we even talking about?”

Duke’s Kyle Filipowski (30) tries to work around Wake Forest’s Efton Reid III (4) during the first half of Duke’s game against Wake Forest at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.
Duke’s Kyle Filipowski (30) tries to work around Wake Forest’s Efton Reid III (4) during the first half of Duke’s game against Wake Forest at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.