Duke claims revenge game against men’s basketball

Wake Forest has now lost four straight in ACC play


Evan Harris

Tyree Appleby leaps toward the basket in a loss against Duke Tuesday.

Aaron Nataline, Sports Editor

The Demon Deacons (14-9, 6-6) fell to Duke (16-6, 7-4) 75-73 on Tuesday night in the hostile environment of Cameron Indoor Stadium, adding a fourth loss to their current losing streak. The Demon Deacons still put up a resilient performance despite extreme shooting woes.

Head coach Steve Forbes’ five-out offense with a small-ball lineup was supposed to turn Duke’s superior length into a disadvantage. By fully spreading out around the arc, Wake Forest would force the Blue Devils to chase after any of the four starting guards, who would be quickest cutting to the basket. 

The small-ball lineup cannot be sustained by shifty drives to the hoop alone — the more important advantage is forcing the bigger opponents to chase so much that filing along the arc at the right time allows for open shots. That’s exactly where Wake Forest fell flat, for the best 3-point shooters of the season, redshirt junior Damari Monsanto (40% 3PT) and Daivien Williamson (39.3% 3PT), couldn’t find the bottom of the net. Monsanto made the sole three-ball of the first half of the two players’ combined nine attempts. 

“It’s going to be really hard for us to win in here or anywhere when we got three guys shooting [about] 40 percent from three [on the season] and go four for 22 from three,” Forbes said.

Graduate guard Tyree Appleby (27 PTS, 9/19 FG) proved to be the only consistent hand on offense. However, his heroics felt evenly matched by Duke’s Jeremy Roach ( 21 PTS, 9/16 FG). A new personnel package for the Demon Deacons after the first media timeout of the half set up Appleby for a fiery run. 

“We were getting beat on the glass. We weren’t making shots. I thought Bobi Klintman picked us up,” Forbes remarked. “We went to our big lineup with [Appleby], [Mosanto], Bobi [Klintman], Andrew [Carr] and [Davion Bradford]. We started playing without fouling, made them turn it over and started making some shots.”

The new height was needed to slow the bleeding on the glass — the Blue Devils grabbed 22 boards to Wake Forest’s 11 in the first half — and freshman Klintman (8 PTS, 2/2 3PT) proved to be a spark plug during Appleby’s scoring streak. Following an and-one floater by Appleby, Klintman intercepted a Blue Devil pass and pushed the ball up to his guard for a fastbreak 3-pointer. Just seconds later, Appleby ended his 8-0 run with a flourish when he snagged a steal of his own and dunked it in the open court, forcing a Duke timeout as Wake Forest had taken their first lead of the night at 21-18 with eight and half minutes remaining in the half. 

Duke would rally to end the half behind Roach, who had 17 points in the first 20 minutes on 70% shooting. His efficiency, along with Duke having made more free throws (12) than the Demon Deacons did field goals (11), earned the home team a seven-point lead going into the second half. 

In the second half, exhaustion seemed to be Wake Forest’s opponent rather than the Blue Devils. Demon Deacons colliding into Duke screens and missing backdoor cuts on defense betrayed this reality. But the exhaustion was a testament to how Wake Forest poured more energy into the downfalls of the first half — they managed to wrangle just as many rebounds (17) as Duke in the second half.

Duke’s seven-time ACC freshman of the week Kyle Flipowski (16 PTS, 11 REB) would lead the second-half surge for the home team. Flipowski took advantage of the dwindling energy of the Demon Deacons as he consistently out-muscled defenders in the paint and drew fouls in a game often slowed down by loose whistles. With just under five minutes remaining, the Cameron Crazies became as lively as they had been all night when Flipowski converted a Wake Forest turnover into a fastbreak dunk to extend the lead to 14.

Somehow, the Demon Deacons stepped on the gas again, refusing to relinquish full momentum to the Blue Devils in the dying minutes of the contest. 

“We got a good spirit, and these cats play hard,” Forbes said of his players. “ We could have folded — lots of times. A lot of teams coming in here would fold (after) going down 11, and then it becomes 20 real quick. I’ve seen it happen. It didn’t. I think these guys will fight all the way to the end.”

Monsanto persevered through his 35-minute shooting slump, drilling two 3-pointers in under two minutes. Appleby found his fourth assist of the night with an alley-oop to Carr, and then he blew by three Blue Devils for an and-one layup. With 90 seconds left, the Demon Deacons were riding on the energy of a 12-2 run and were poised to take a final stand while down just four points. 

The run couldn’t be sustained in the last minute, unfortunately, for Duke was gifted possession right after a Flipowski three when Appleby was called for a questionable illegal screen. Though Wake Forest kept attacking as the Blue Devils made their late-game free throws, including an Appleby three at the buzzer, the comeback fell short in all-too-similar fashion to the previous three losses. 

The Demon Deacons hope to get back on track in South Bend, Ind. where they face Notre Dame (10-12, 2-9) this Saturday, Feb. 4.