WINSTON SALEM – A.J. Griffin and John Sheyer spent Wednesday evening getting used to their new roles.
One was only for the evening – at least for the near future – while the other seems to be more permanent.
Griffin eclipsed everyone else early in his Duke career with a record 22 points in a satisfying 76-64 win over Wake Forest without head coach Mike Krzyzewski on the bench.
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The Blue Devils (13-2, 3-1) have recovered from Saturday’s defeat to Miami at Cameron Indoor, which drove them down from 2nd to 8th in the AP poll. Wake Forest (13-4, 3-3) was in the lead with 25 points over Alondes Williams.
Freshman Griffin, who learned on Tuesday that he will face sophomore defender Jeremy Roach, scored 8 of 11 shots and 3 of 5 of 3, playing 11 minutes more (35) than his previous career record.
“You know, you prepare for every game the same way, which means you have to play your best in the minutes you have,” said Griffin, who has missed most of the last two seasons of his high school career due to injuries. “Whether you start or exit from the bench, it’s the same mentality.”
Duke used a 28-3 streak with 13 straight shots to open up close play.
Since Krzyzewski did not travel to the match with Wake Forest due to a non-COVID illness, Shyer took over for the second time in two years, and after this season, he will own the place entirely.
Scheyer previously led the Blue Devils to an 83-82 win over Boston College at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 6, 2021, while Krzyzewski was in quarantine at home after his daughter and granddaughter tested positive for COVID -nineteen.
“After the game in Miami, there was motivation, motivation for the coach (Krzyzewski) to do it, maybe some motivation didn’t want to make me look bad, who knows? But definitely the first two, ”Shayer said.
The revolutionary streak began in the first half
Duke’s run in the second half ended 1:14 before the end of the first half.
With 27 points in play, the Blue Devils had eight of their last 10 points in the half, including Griffin’s three-pointer to the siren, giving his team a 6-point lead at half-time.
Freshman Paolo Banchero led the team with 13 points in the first half and finished with a record-breaking 24, making 11 shots on 23 tries.
Duke opened the second half with nine straight shots, increasing the lead from 6 points to 20 in the first 5.5 minutes. Banchero scored seven in a row in one go, making the game out of reach with 2:34 pm to go.
This was the third time in the last four games that Banchero had scored at least 20 points.
“I am not giving out nuclear codes saying that we have to give the ball to Paolo,” Scheyer said after the victory.
Trevor Keels was the only other Duke player to hit double digits, scoring 11 points on 5-of-9 shots. It was Keels’s best night ever after hitting just 2 of 11 shots in Miami’s losing streak. Wendell Moore had seven points, five rebounds and six assists, while Roach scored all five from the bench in the second half.
“Paolo and AJ played amazing today,” Moore said. “Everyone who came tonight gave us something. We’re going to be a very difficult team to win in the future. “
When will Coach K. return?
Krzhizhevsky was not in training on Tuesday, and on Wednesday he was kicked out of the game due to an unknown virus, which the university said was not COVID-19.
Scheyer said he was “optimistic” that Coach K would return to the bench for Saturday’s home game against North Carolina State.
“It was a really evolving situation,” Scheyer said. “He was feeling bad and we were hoping that he would return to this game, and we thought it would be closer to solving during the game, but in his best interest, we need him to be 100%.”
Duke’s season was disrupted at the end of December after nearly the entire squad and coaching staff tested positive for COVID-19, leading to a 10-day hiatus and a delay in two games.
The Blue Devils are 2-1 since returning to the game with victories over Georgia Institute of Technology and Wake Forest and defeat to Miami.
“This is no different from the last month we had,” Shayer said. “It seems to me that every day we just find out who we have – COVID, not COVID – who is sick and who is healthy. Hopefully this trend will start to decline and we will know who will be at each game. “
David Thompson is an award-winning USA Today Network reporter covering North Carolina and Duke Athletics. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 828-231-1747, or on Twitter at @ daveth89.