Duke basketball uses offensive explosion in second half to defeat Wake Forest

The offense finally woke up for the Duke basketball team in the second half against Wake Forest.
Feb 12, 2024; Durham, North Carolina, USA;  Duke Blue Devils center Kyle Filipowski (30) shooots
Feb 12, 2024; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils center Kyle Filipowski (30) shooots / Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

It was the second consecutive game in which the Duke basketball team did not put its best performace together in the first half before looking like a new squad after halftime.

It happened on Saturday against Boston College and again on Monday night against Wake Forest, but the key factor in the turnaround remained the same -- Mark Mitchell.

Mitchell had seven points at halftime on 3-of-7 shooting and took over the game in the second half with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, finishing with 23 points, tying a career-high.

The Blue Devils shot 35.5-percent (11-of-31) from the floor in the first half and 3-of-14 (21.4-percent) from 3-point range before connecting on 62.5-percent (15-of-24) of its attempts after halftime, including 4-of-11 (36.4-percent) from distance.

Duke (19-5, 10-3 ACC) was also much more aggressive and efficient getting to the free throw line in the second half, making 14-of-17 attempts, compared to only 4-of-8 in the first half.

Kyle Filipowski helped Mitchell in the second half explosion and was much more disciplined in his shot selection. The All-American candidate finished the 77-69 victory with 21 points, 11 in the second half, and only attempted two 3-pointers, missing both, after halftime following a 1-for-4 showing before the break.

Wake Forest (16-8, 8-5 ACC) never led in the game after missing its first 11 attempts from 3-point range to begin the game, shooting 6-of-26 (23.1-percent) from beyond the arc.

Sophomore point guard Tyrese Proctor did not score in nearly 26 minutes played, missing all five of his shot attempts.

The victory caps off a sweep for the Blue Devils in its 3-game home stand as they embark on a 3-game road trip this weekend, with two games coming in the state of Florida, which is capped off by a rematch with the Demon Deacons next Saturday.

No. 9 Duke will play Florida State (13-10, 7-5 ACC) on Saturday (2:00 p.m. ET, ESPN).