Allen, Plumlee lead No. 14 Duke past Wake Forest, 91-75
Jan. 07, 2016
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Marshall Plumlee set the screen, rolled to the basket, took the pass and threw down a powerful dunk for No. 14 Duke.
During his series of lead-stretching slams, the only Wake Forest player who could stop him was stuck on the bench with four fouls.
Plumlee scored 14 of his career-best 18 points in the second half of the Blue Devils' 91-75 victory over Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
"There was some locker room talk (at halftime) but the underlying theme was, coach believes in me just like he believes in every one of us," Plumlee said. "And when you have belief of your teammates and a great coaching staff, you feel like you can take on the world."
Grayson Allen scored 24 points, freshman Luke Kennard added 23, and Brandon Ingram had 17 for the Blue Devils (13-2, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
They shot 52 percent and overcame some serious foul trouble to their thin rotation to win their fourth straight and open an ACC season with consecutive road victories for just the second time under coach Mike Krzyzewski. Duke is down to seven players in the regular rotation with forward Amile Jefferson out indefinitely with a broken foot.
"There's nobody to sub in," Krzyzewski said. "We're literally on an edge all the time. Our guys have to realize that, and they have to play, not conservatively, but smart."
Devin Thomas had 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Codi Miller-McIntyre had a season-best 20 points for the Demon Deacons (9-5, 0-2). They've lost three of four, also falling to No. 10 Xavier and No. 16 Louisville.
"Moral victories do us no good," coach Danny Manning said. "We've got to find ways to get it done."
When Thomas picked up his fourth foul with 8 minutes to play and Duke up 69-63, the Blue Devils took full advantage.
They immediately pushed their lead back to double figures, with consecutive dunks by Plumlee putting Duke up 73-63 with 6:45 remaining. Then, 3 minutes later — and with Thomas waiting at the scorer's table to finally return — the Blue Devils' big man hit another dunk to extend the lead back to 10.
That came after Wake Forest seemingly had the Blue Devils right where it wanted them, down just 58-54 after Duke's starting guards — Allen and Matt Jones — each picked up their fourth fouls 32 seconds apart early in the second half.
"It didn't look good, let's put it that way," Krzyzewski said. "Our guys just fought and fought."
The Demon Deacons twice cut their deficit to two — the last time coming on Thomas' coast-to-coast layup with just under 10 minutes to play, before that big fourth foul on the Wake Forest center came two possessions later.
Thomas' fourth foul would have only been his third, had he not drawn his first technical foul of the season not even two minutes into the second half after Plumlee beat him down the lane. Thomas fouled the Duke center, then slapped the basket pad before official Roger Ayers gave him a T. Thomas said he hit the basket support because he was angry with himself for missing on the steal, said Ayers "had a big ego" but ultimately admitted "it was just a dumb move by me."
Duke: Allen had another big game at Wake Forest's expense. The teams last played in the Blue Devils' home finale last March, and he lit up the Demon Deacons for 27 points — at the time, a career high.
Wake Forest: Cornelius Hudson finished with 12 points and three 3-pointers for Wake Forest, while freshman John Collins had 11 points. He and Ingram traded blocked shots a few minutes apart midway through the second half.
Duke plays host to Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Wake Forest plays host to North Carolina State on Sunday.
Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary
AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org