Rivals collide in ACC affair

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Winston-Salem, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - The second-ranked Duke Blue Devils take their act on the road on Wednesday evening, as they make the short trip to Wake Forest to battle the Demon Deacons in an ACC showdown.

Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils are one of just three unbeatens left in the country and the only team that has won all of its games by double digits. The team moved to 13-0 on the year and opened ACC play with an easy victory over Boston College on Saturday, 85-62. Duke is seeking to go 14-0 for the seventh time in school history, but has dropped four of its last five ACC road openers.

Danny Manning's Demon Deacons would love to continue that trend, but must bounce back from an 85-76 loss to fifth-ranked Louisville on Sunday. The loss ended a three-game win streak for Wake Forest and dropped the team to 8-7 overall and 0-2 in conference play.

These two rivals are meeting for the 242nd time in history. Duke holds a 163-78 series advantage, but a slim 12-11 lead in games played at Lawrence Joel Coliseum. Wake took the last meeting, an 82-72 upset of then fourth- ranked Duke in early March of last year.

The Blue Devils were once again dominant on both ends of the court, as they made light work of Boston College in the ACC opener this past weekend. The Blue Devils converted 51.6 percent from the floor in the win, including a 9-of-21 effort from behind the arc. Freshman sensation Jahlil Okafor was once again unstoppable as the 7-foot youngster posted a career-high 28 points to go along with eight rebounds and four blocks in the victory. Senior Quinn Cook (15 pts), freshman Justise Winslow (13 pts) and junior Rasheed Sulaimon (11 pts) played big roles in the win as well.

Duke's dominance at both ends is reflected in the team's gaudy +24.7 scoring margin, good for second in the country. The Blue Devils have been especially strong offensively, netting 85.3 ppg (sixth nationally) on an efficient .524 shooting (third nationally). Okafor has lived up to the hype as the nation's top recruit. He currently leads the country in field-goal percentage (.682) and paces Duke in scoring (19.5 ppg), rebounding (8.7 rpg) and blocks (22). Cook (14.5 ppg) provides a veteran presence, while both freshmen Winslow (12.2 ppg) and Tyus Jones (10.2 ppg, 5.3 apg) have made immediate impacts as well.

Wake battled back from an 11-point haltime deficit and took a 69-68 lead in the second half, before faltering down the stretch and dropping a nine-point decision to Louisville last time out. The loss spoiled a huge performance by Devin Thomas, who posted a double-double with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Codi Miller-McIntyre and Mitchell Wilbekin added 14 points each for the team in defeat.

More performances like the one Thomas had against Louisville could make the Demon Deacons a dangerous team in ACC play. Thomas became the first player for Wake to top 30 points in a game in four years. This season, there hasn't been a lot of offensive eruptions, as the team is averaging a modest 70.6 ppg. Miller-McIntyre tops the team with 13.1 ppg. Thomas is one of the ACC's top frontcourt players, as he is second on the team in scoring (12.1 ppg) and first in the ACC in rebounding (9.7 rpg).