Duke basketball sees winning formula in March continue to blossom

Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The formula for success for the Duke basketball team seems abundantly clear. 

It felt like the blueprint for success was always very clear for the Duke basketball team.

Getting outstanding play from its guards Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor was the first step in those plans and it never truly formulated this season for a variety of reasons.

However, it looks like the two are finally comfortable playing with each other on the court.

Roach, in his third game back from a toe injury, could not miss in the first half in Tuesday’s 75-73 victory against Wake Forest (14-9, 6-6 ACC).

The junior captain scored 17 points in the opening 20 minutes while shooting 7-of-10 from the floor and connecting on 2-of-3 shots from beyond the arc while Proctor added seven points on 3-of-6 shooting.

The second half was not much different.

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Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor ended up combining for 38 points, seven rebounds, and four assists on 15-for-27 shooting from the field in the victory and finally showed a glimpse of how Duke (16-6, 7-4 ACC) can sustain success in March.

The Blue Devils were dominant, leading by as many as 14 points with 5:28 remaining, despite the final margin of victory.

Duke drilled the Demon Deacons from inside and outside, without the services of Dariq Whitehead, as Kyle Filipowski added another double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Dereck Lively continued to show flashes of catching up to the speed of the college game.

Duke basketball must be wary of quick runs

The question, if you only look at the final score, remains why was Duke so dominant yet only won by two points?

Well, a 12-2 run over 3:30 late in the second half turned a 14-point lead into a four point advantage for Duke and despite pushing the lead back to nine, 75-66, in the final 40 seconds Wake Forest scored seven points in 20 seconds to make its margin of defeat just two points.

The consistent scoring droughts for the Blue Devils could be its eventual downfall and allowing teams to turn double digit deficits into competitive games in the final two minutes is troubling but expected for a young team.

Now, the biggest challenge of the season comes for Jon Scheyer as the Duke head coach will battle against North Carolina (15-6, 7-3 ACC) for the first time in his career on Saturday night (6:30p.m. EST, ESPN) inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.