Duke basketball continues winning ways as legend returns

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

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The Duke basketball program continued its winning ways as it welcomed back a legend.

Saturday afternoon was a step in the positive direction for the Duke basketball team as it returned one of its three missing pieces.

Following a negative COVID-19 test on Saturday morning, head coach Mike Krzyzewski returned to the sidelines for the Blue Devils after a one-game absence due to virus quarantine and contact tracing protocols.

Duke (5-2, 3-0 ACC) was still without five-star freshman Jalen Johnson (foot) and graduate transfer Patrick Tape (back), but that didn’t alter the focus of the five-time National Champions against Wake Forest (3-3, 0-3 ACC).

After a back-and-forth affair throughout the first 30 minutes of the contest, Duke seized control late in the second half behind 26 points from star sophomore forward Matthew Hurt.

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The outburst set a new career-high for the Minnesota native, who also added six rebounds, two assists, and three steals on 10-of-15 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 from the 3-point line.

DJ Steward joined in on the scoring fun with 21 points despite his 1-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc.

The freshman shooting guard converted a 3-point play with 11:25 remaining to give the Blue Devils a lead they would not relinquish.

Duke basketball sees regression from utility forward

Perhaps Wednesday night’s performance from Wendell Moore was just an outlier for the sophomore.

Moore posted a season-high 25 points in a victory over Boston College but fell back into his rut with a four-point showing on Saturday, connecting on just 1-of-7 shot attempts.

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Freshman center Mark Williams notwithstanding, the other four starters for the Blue Devils combined for 73 points, leaving the other six coming from Moore and Joey Baker.

Duke is going to need more balance and production from its bench if it wants to thrive in a critical stretch looming in the ACC.

That tough stretch begins on Tuesday, January 12, with the first of a three-game road trip against No. 19 Virginia Tech (8-2, 2-1 ACC).

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