By going small, eighth-ranked Duke came up with a big effort Wednesday night against No. 2 Wake Forest in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Winston-Salem, N.C.
Duke, with no starting player over 6 feet 8 going against Wake’s Forest’s frontline of 6-10 Tim Duncan, 6-10 Ricky Peral and 7-1 Loren Woods, forced nine turnovers in the game’s first nine minutes that set the tone for a 73-68 victory.
“We’ve gone to small lineups throughout January, throughout the ACC, and when we analyze our team that’s when we’re playing our best basketball,” Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Wake Forest, 18-2 overall and 8-2 in the ACC, was poised to become the nation’s No. 1 team for the first time after top-ranked and previously unbeaten Kansas lost in double overtime to Missouri Tuesday, but the early turnovers that produced a nine-point deficit and Duncan’s late ineffectiveness put that on hold.
Coincidentally in 1994, Wake Forest defeated Duke twice to deny the Blue Devils the No. 1 ranking. Duke had also lost the last 10 games between the schools.
Duncan had 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting but missed five throws in a late two-minute span, didn’t take a shot in the last five minutes, and had no blocked shots as Duke (18-5, 7-3) became the first team this season to shoot better than 39% against Wake Forest (46%).
The game’s key defensive play was made by Duke’s 6-6 freshman forward Chris Carrawell, who blocked guard Tony Rutland’s driving layup with 1:20 left to preserve a three-point Blue Devil lead and put Demon Deacons in a position of having to foul.
Only problem was that Trajan Langdon, a 90% free-throw shooter, was the player they fouled. He made four consecutive free throws to seal a victory in which Duke’s leading scorer and shot blocker, 6-10 senior Greg Newton, played only six minutes.
“It’s not for any disciplinary reasons or anything, it’s strategy,” Krzyzewski said. “I have two Labs at home and I don’t have any other doghouse. If I wanted another dog I would go out and buy one.”
No. 4 Minnesota 85, Penn State 70--The Golden Gophers (20-2, 9-1) shot 70% and forced 18 turnovers in leading by as many as 21 points in the first half of the Big Ten Conference game at Minneapolis.
Penn State (8-10, 1-9) made 14 of its first 17 shots in the second half to cut Minnesota’s lead to seven with 7:35 left but made only two baskets the rest of the game.
No. 6 Iowa State 61, Baylor 52--The Cyclones (16-3, 7-2) managed to overcome a sluggish performance against the Bears (14-8, 3-7) in which they went 11:55 of the first half without a basket in the Big 12 Conference game at Ames, Iowa.
Iowa State went on a 16-0 run after missing 13 of its first 17 shots. The Cyclones play Kansas at Ames on Sunday.
No. 7 Maryland 66, North Carolina State 55--Forward Laron Profit, coming off two subpar efforts, made eight of 13 shots and had 20 points for the Terrapins (18-4, 7-3) in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at College Park, Md.
Profit missed eight of 13 shots and had 14 points in Maryland’s losses to Florida State and Wake Forest last week.
North Carolina State (9-10, 1-9), which had only three turnovers in its upset of Clemson on Saturday, had 14 by halftime and 21 overall.
Nebraska 77, No. 15 Colorado 69--Guard Tyronn Lue, who missed a shot at the buzzer that could have beaten Kansas on Saturday, had 22 points to lead the Cornhuskers (12-9, 4-5) to their Big 12 Conference upset of the Buffaloes (16-5, 7-2) at Lincoln, Neb.
Colorado guard Chauncey Billups had a career-high 35 points and made seven of 11 three-point shots.
Center Adonal Foyle had 12 blocked shots to pass Alonzo Mourning of Georgetown as the all-time NCAA Division I leader but had a season-low 15 points as Colgate (9-12, 6-2) was a 79-56 loser to Navy (6-2, 14-8) in a Patriot League game at Annapolis, Md. Foyle has 455 blocked shots, while Wake Forest’s Duncan is third at 451. . . . Marquette (14-5), which had dropped out of the Top 25 this week, missed 23 of 29 three-point shots in a stunning 68-59 nonconference loss to Maine (8-15) at Milwaukee. Maine, of the America East Conference, made 10 of 17 three-point shots. . . . Forward Austin Croshere had 24 points as Providence (17-5, 8-3) won its sixth consecutive game, a home-court 73-67 Big East Conference decision over Rutgers (9-9, 5-7). . . . Purdue (12-8, 7-3) made 12 of 23 three-point shots in recording its highest point total of the season in a 94-77 Big Ten Conference victory over Ohio State (9-10, 4-6) at West Lafayette, Ind.