Florida State sits alone atop the ACC regular season standings after No. 7 Duke fell on the road Tuesday to Wake Forest, 113-101, in a thrilling double overtime affair. It’s Duke’s second loss in its last three games — both on the road to unranked ACC foes — putting it behind the eight-ball in the conference’s regular season race with three games remaining.
The Blue Devils led by a dozen points in the second half before Danny Manning’s Demon Deacons closed regulation on a 29-17 run, which included overcoming a nine-point deficit with 1:15 remaining. From there, Wake and Duke exchanged leads in the overtime periods before Wake in double OT took the lead and never trailed.
For Wake, it’s a high point in a season that’s been plenty short on them. Before Tuesday, it had just one win all season over a KenPom top-50 team — and that came at home against Xavier back in December. Even with the win, Wake is second-to-last in the ACC regular season standings and on its way to a sub-.500 record in league play for the third consecutive season.
It’s a troubling loss for Duke, but take it with this caveat: two key Duke players — Vernon Carey Jr. and Javin DeLaurier — fouled out. Wendell Moore, Cassius Stanley and Tre Jones finished the game with four fouls. (Wake had two players foul out as well and two more finished with four fouls.)
The big loss for Duke was Carey, its best inside presence and most reliable player overall. He played just 19 minutes before fouling out, finishing 4 of 10 with 10 points and seven rebounds. With him sidelined, Moore and Tre Jones scored 25 and 24, respectively, gunning to make up for his missing production but failing. Wake’s Olivier Sarr and Chaundee Brown finished with 25 and 24 points respectively as well.
Despite a bad loss at an inopportune time that could ultimately kill Duke’s ACC chances, the Blue Devils, according to Jerry Palm, are holding steady in their NCAA Tournament crystal ball. They entered the night as a projected 3 seed in the East, and exit the night as a projected 3 seed, per Palm. They face Virginia, NC State and North Carolina over the next two weeks to close the regular season.