For a couple of teams that played night games Wednesday, this might seem like a quick change when Wake Forest visits No. 21 Duke in an Atlantic Coast Conference game Saturday afternoon in Durham, North Carolina.
Duke (4-2, 2-0 ACC) had not played since Dec. 16 prior to an 83-82 win against Boston College, driven by 25 points from Wendell Moore Jr.
“With just three weeks off, I think our guys learned that nothing will be easy,” said Duke associate head coach Jon Scheyer. “We have to build from this, 2-0 (in the ACC) and move on.”
Scheyer, a shooting guard for the 2010 Duke national championship team, guided the victory in his first game as interim coach. He was replacing Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has been in quarantine due to close contact with a family member who tested positive for coronavirus.
With a start scheduled for noon for the Wake Forest game, it’s just the time when Krzyzewski’s quarantine could expire.
“I would certainly like to go back to that game if they allow it,” Krzyzewski said earlier in the week. “We are going to follow what the health officials say. I have confidence in my team and in my coaching staff.”
This will be Wake Forest’s third consecutive road game to open the ACC game, following the December postponements. These games are on a seven-day stretch after going more than a month without a game.
Moore, a sophomore who equaled his career points total in a double overtime game last season against Wake Forest, came off a horrible shooting slump that included just one field goal in a four-game span. . So his breakthrough was just what the Blue Devils needed when they overcame a 16-point deficit against Boston College.
“What Wendell did and what he’s been through, it’s really hard to come off a losing streak,” Scheyer said. “Really happy to see that you have responded and worked on all of that.”
The Blue Devils, who had already lost twice in home games, gave enough answers. They had five players scoring in double figures for the first time this season.
“Our guys were really mature down the stretch,” Scheyer said.
The Demon Deacons (3-2, 0-2 ACC) lost 70-61 Wednesday night at No. 22 in Virginia. There was a notable improvement from last Sunday’s setback at Georgia Tech, particularly with Wake Forest leading through the first half.
That’s not good enough.
“I don’t believe in moral victories,” Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said. “You have to play two halves to win a game, especially against a team like Virginia. We really played as good as we could play in the first half on both offense and defense. It was a big change from Sunday’s game at Georgia Tech. . “
Wake Forest junior Isaiah Mucius has led or co-led the team in scoring in both ACC games with 21 and 14 points.
It won’t be any easier for the Demon Deacons.
“It’s part of life – learn from your mistakes, change some skills, and move on and respond to the next challenge,” Forbes said.
There are also challenges for Duke. Scheyer said there is pressure for him and other staff members to pass, especially if Krzyzewski is separated from the team.
“I’m proud of the decisions in the game,” he said of the events on Wednesday night, “although there are always things you could do better or differently.”
Duke won 11 straight meetings with Wake Forest before the Demon Deacons posted a 113-101 double overtime home win last February.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.