Wake Forest-Duke Preview

The Associated Press

Duke jumped four spots in the latest AP poll behind a couple of gritty efforts last week.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski, though, believes there's still plenty of room for improvement.

Seeking a 45th consecutive victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the fourth-ranked Blue Devils look to also extend their home winning streak over Wake Forest to 13 games Thursday night.

Three days after holding off then-No. 16 Virginia 61-58, Duke (15-2, 3-0 ACC) found itself in another tight battle at Clemson on Sunday. The Blue Devils saw their 13-point lead cut to four in the final minute before ultimately winning 73-66.

Junior Andre Dawkins went 5 of 9 from 3-point range in scoring 24 points while fellow reserve Miles Plumlee had a game-high 14 rebounds.

"We always get everybody's best shot," Krzyzewski said. "For 25 years we've gotten everybody's best shot so we have to have guys that play like they want to win."

Duke leads the conference with a 49.6 field-goal percentage and ranks second with 80.3 points per game. Its defensive performance, however, leaves much to be desired.

The Blue Devils are allowing opponents to shoot a league-high 43.6 percent from the field and surrendering an average of 68.5 points - better than only Wake Forest (69.3).

"I think, especially at this point in the season, the numbers are really skewed based on our strength of schedule," assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski told the school's official site. "It stands to reason that we're giving up more points because we're playing tougher people."

While Duke's difficult schedule has surely played a factor in it's less-than-dominant efforts, Krzyzewski is hoping to see an improved all-around display from here on out.

"We're not a well-oiled machine. We need to have amazing crowds and hunger," Krzyzewski said. "It's been good (but it's) gotta be better. We gotta get better. We should be hungry. This is a different Duke team and it's a team that at this point has won 15 and lost two against the toughest schedule of any major school in the country.

"They're doing a good job, but it's still a grind-it-out type of team, and a team that's learning ... we just need to be better and that's what I'm looking forward to starting with Wake Forest on Thursday night."

The Blue Devils, who are two wins shy of matching the longest home win streak in school history set from 1997-2000, have certainly taken care of business versus the Demon Deacons (10-7, 1-2) of late, winning 12 straight in the series at home by an average of 20.2 points.

Wake Forest is coming off its worst defeat in more than four years, falling 76-40 to North Carolina State on Saturday. The Demon Deacons shot a season-low 29.1 percent from the floor and matched a season worst with 17 turnovers.

Guard C.J. Harris and Forward Travis McKie, averaging a combined 34.4 points, scored 10 and two, respectively, while making a combined 4 of 17 shots.

"Am I worried about it? No, I'm not worried about it," coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "This is a team that wanted to do well and I think they just got frustrated to the point where they just got so frustrated it just got the best of them - because it's a young team - and they didn't really know how to handle it."

Wake Forest, which has yet to face a ranked opponent this season, has dropped three straight meetings against Top 25 foes by 22.7 points per game.

The Demon Deacons will surely look to add to Austin Rivers' recent woes. The freshman guard, who averaged 16.0 points over his first 12 contests, has managed just 8.6 on 36.4 percent shooting during his last five games.

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