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Duke again has too much Kelly for Wake Forest

The SportsXchange

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke's Ryan Kelly picked up where he left off against Wake Forest.

The senior forward produced another stellar performance against the in-state rival as the top-ranked Blue Devils posted an 80-62 romp in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"It might be how they defended me, I don't know," Kelly said after his 22-point outburst. "I got my shots and I was knocking them in."

Kelly, a senior forward, has scored at least 20 points in each of Duke's last four games against Wake Forest, including a career-best 23 points last February.

"He stretches you out," Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said of Kelly. "He's very crafty in the post. He is intelligent. He is like a point guard out there, because when he catches the basketball he can do a lot of things with it."

Seth Curry matched Kelly with 22 points as the Blue Devils (14-0) beat the Demon Deacons for the sixth consecutive time.

Travis McKie scored 22 points and C.J. Harris added 19 points for Wake Forest (7-6), which had its three-game winning streak end.

Kelly made 6-of-9 shots from the field, including five 3-point baskets after air-balling Duke's first shot of the game from long range. Kelly has been Duke's top scorer in back-to-back games.

"He did a good job of stepping into his shots with confidence and knocking them down," Curry said. "If he does that, that makes us a better team."

Kelly had 17 first-half points, putting him within one of his season high, before scoring on a runner on the first possession of the second half. He picked up his fourth foul with 16:08 to play and fouled out with 7:20 left.

By then, the Blue Devils were in good shape, as they entered a new phase of the season with the mindset that another group of accomplishments are needed.

"We're 1-0 in the ACC," Kelly said. "The ACC schedule is all that matters now. The 13-0 is gone."

It wasn't the start that the Demon Deacons were looking for, but they might have benefited from it nonetheless.

"You've got to go home and away with people," Bzdelik said. "It's a great benchmark for our young team, for our guys to understand what a No. 1-ranked team does."

Mason Plumlee scored all but two of his 13 points in the second half as the Blue Devils went to 14-0 for the sixth time in coach Mike Krzyzewski's 33 seasons.

Duke made 9-of-16 shots from 3-point range in the first half as the Blue Devils' perimeter shooting set the tone.

Duke didn't connect on a 2-point basket for nearly the first 11 minutes, relying on seven 3-pointers and four free throws for a 25-17 lead.

Plumlee's dunk at the 9:03 mark of the opening half was the first 2-point basket for the Blue Devils. They shot 3-of-17 inside the arc in the first half.

Duke's advantage grew to 17 points before Harris scored six of Wake Forest's last eight points of the first half to pull the Deacons to within 41-30.

The Blue Devils went on a 17-6 run to begin the second half. They did all this while starting point guard Quinn Cook missed his 11 shots from the field in a scoreless outing. Cook, however, provided 14 assists.

Wake Forest was within 69-55 with slightly more than six minutes remaining, recovering from a 67-42 hole.

"We fought," McKie said. We were down 20 and we could have packed it in. It's a learning experience and we'll learn from it."

Wake Forest, which hasn't played outside North Carolina in more than a month, had three freshmen in the starting lineup. One of them, forward Devin Thomas, grabbed 12 rebounds.

However, the trio of Thomas, Arnaud Adala Moto and Codi Miller-McIntyre combined for 12 points on 5-for-22 shooting from the field.

NOTES: The Demon Deacons are 0-5 in ACC openers when Duke is the opponent. ... Duke has won 26 of its 33 ACC openers under coach Mike Krzyzewski. ... Wake Forest fell to 5-25 all-time against No. 1-ranked teams, with three of those victories against Duke. The most-recent upset came in 2009.
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