Duke’s potent offense emerged and six players finished in double-figures as the No. 12 Blue Devils held off Wake Forest 99-94 for an ACC home win.
The Demon Deacons missed a chance to tie with under 30 seconds left but Bryant Crawford missed a difficult driving layup and Amile Jefferson closed out the game at the free-throw line.
The Blue Devils (22-5, 10-4) had a tough time getting late defensive stops, and they missed a few late free throws to keep Wake Forest in the game, but the Blue Devils also couldn’t be stopped on the offensive end.
Luke Kennard paced Duke with a team-high 23 points while Jayson Tatum added 19 points — including two key free throws with 31.1 seconds left to make it a three-point game. Jefferson (16 points), Frank Jackson (12 points), Grayson Allen (11 points) and Matt Jones (10 points) also finished in double-figures for the Blue Devils.
Duke’s defense is going to continue to be a big concern down the stretch and I’m not sure how they fix it. They’re going to this smaller lineup because it is so effective on offense but Jefferson at the five offers minimal rim protection and a lot of the team’s perimeter defenders are average at best. The Blue Devils don’t need to turn into a shutdown team with an offense as good as this, but they can’t let opposing teams get to the rim whenever they want and score with ease as we saw on Saturday.
Wake Forest (15-12, 6-9) did everything they could to stay in this one but they’ll just end up with two very close losses to Duke during the regular season. Big man John Collins continued to show that he’s one of the best players in the ACC with 31 points and 15 rebounds. Crawford added 21 points while Keyshawn Woods added 13 points.
The Demon Deacons found themselves down for most of the second half but they fought as hard as possible to stay in this one. One notable thing about the end of this game is how Wake Forest went away from Collins with less than two minutes left. While Wake Forest often found themselves down by three or four points during this stretch, they forced a lot of contested looks — some of them two-pointers — as they ended up falling.
It’ll be interesting to see if Collins becomes more of an offensive focal point down the stretch of tight games. Wake Forest still has three games left and two of them are coming at home against Pitt and Louisville while they still travel to Virginia Tech. For Wake to feel comfortable about its postseason chances they probably need to win two of those three games.
Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.
He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.
Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.
The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.
As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.
Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.
SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.
The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.
Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.
South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.
The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.
Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.
A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.
Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.
Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.
Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.
The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.
Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.