Devils Thump Wake In Winston

The conventional wisdom held that if you could take one of Duke's two All-Americans out of the game the Blue Devils would be extremely vulnerable. Unfortunately for Wake Forest that wisdom didn't hold as the nation's top ranked team stormed past the Demon Deacons 82-64 on Sunday night in Winston Salem.

With starting big forward Shelden Williams on the bench for much of the night courtesy of some questionable whistles, it was left to Duke' J.J. Redick and his supporting cast to keep Duke perfect on the season.

As usual Redick was up to the task, pouring in a game high 32, but it was the unexpected emergence of fellow senior Lee Melchionni that proved to break any hopes Wake Forest had of making it four straight victories in Winston Salem.

After struggling on both ends of the court for much of the season, Melchionni caught fire on Sunday – hitting for a season high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting (5-of-8 from the perimeter) as Duke improved to 14-0 on the season and 2-0 in conference play.

After picking up two quick fouls inside, Williams played sparingly in the opening period before picking up his third just before intermission. It didn't take long for his fourth to be called, just before the first television timeout. He played just 17 minutes, finishing with 10 points and four rebounds.

Joining the three seniors in double figures was freshman Greg Paulus who tallied 10 points and three assists, but committed six turnovers – several of them in the backcourt. Meanwhile fellow starting point guard Sean Dockery added eight points, while holding Wake Forest's leading scorer, Justin Gray, to 17 points on 7-of-16 shooting.

While getting continuous help from his teammates, Redick also got a boost when sophomore scoring guard DeMarcus Nelson returned to the court after five weeks off due to an ankle injury. Soon after checking in, Nelson forced a pair of Deacon turnovers before slamming home an alley-oop off a feed from Josh McRoberts, his only points of the night.

With Duke's Williams rendered ineffective with foul trouble, Wake Forest's Eric Williams went to work on the inside, tallying 17 points and eight rebounds. Unfortunately his teammates all but forgot about him after Duke's interior became extremely vulnerable midway through the second half.

Duke seemed to be staggering after Gray connected from the perimeter to cut the lead to just three. Greg Paulus was able to convert a driving lay-up and then the craziness began.

After a scramble Wake came up with the loose ball and fed senior Trent Strickland for appeared to be an easy slam-dunk. However the senior tried to add a little extra to the finish and clanged it to mid-court where Duke found Redick from the perimeter to push the lead back to eight. The Blue Devils would steal the ball on the next possession and then, with the shot clock winding down, freshman Josh McRoberts connected from three to push the lead to 11. Duke was never challenged again.

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