Duke-Wake Forest: Blue Devils Steal a Win Over Demon Deacons

BabyTateSenior Writer IFebruary 23, 2009

Whenever one spies a headline like the example above, immediate thoughts of a last second victory come to mind.

That is not the case here. Duke defeated Wake Forest 101-91 on Sunday night in Durham. But it was the 10 steals by the Blue Devils that provided the fuel for this victory.

The Demon Deacons finished with one steal, a potential difference in scoring of 18 to 27 points in Duke's favor.

The pressure-cooker Duke half-court man to man defense provided another bonus for Blue Devil fans and 20 turnovers for Wake Forest. Duke committed only six turnovers, a potential difference of 28 to 42 points.

Duke made the most of these thieving defensive opportunities and avenged an earlier loss to the Demon Deacons.

Duke was helped by a resurgence of progressive thinking by Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Elliot Williams, the gifted athlete from Memphis with the "747" arm length showed why he will be an important factor in Duke's chase for the ACC Championship.

The young star picked the pocket of the vaunted Deacon guards throughout the game. If it had been a wallet instead of a basketball Williams would have had time to make change for a dollar bill, that's how superior his hand-speed was to the Wake players.

The "Junior Brigade" of Gerald Henderson and Jon Scheyer each achieved career highs against the touted Deacon defense, tossing in 35 and 30 respectfully.

Duke also benefited from having Brian Zoubek not play a single second during the game.

Based upon his previous appearances this year, the less Zoubek plays the rest of the season, the better off Duke will be. His entrance into a game often precedes bad things happening to Coach Krzyzewski's group. You may draw your own conclusion.

Some like to point out that when "the three is not falling, Duke loses," but you couldn't prove it from this game. Duke missed 15 out of 23 from beyond the arc. The Demon Deacons shot a far higher percentage, nailing five out of nine from downtown.

Wake out-shot Duke by a wide margin from two point territory and out-rebounded the Blue Devils as well.

So, let's quit talking about Duke's offense, the fact is when the Blue Devil defensive thresher can turn you over, you are going down to the men in blue regardless of the other statistics.

Next up for Duke is Maryland. The Terrapins just disposed of UNC this past weekend and are no doubt still smarting from the 41-point drubbing Duke put on them earlier in the season.

It will be the hope of each Duke fan that the Blue Devil defense will be "on" and Coach Krzyzewski will be just as progressive in his thinking at College Park as he was in New York City and in Durham this past week.