Kelly nets 22 in Duke's 80-62 win over Wake Forest
Duke’s Ryan Kelly was on his way to a very special afternoon against Wake Forest Saturday. The senior forward picked up his fourth foul with 16:10 to play in the second half and fouled out with 7:20 left in the Blue Devils’ 80-62 win to open ACC play.
“He still had a special day. He had 22 points in 18 minutes,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Kelly, after an 18-point performance against Davidson Wednesday, scored 15 of his 22 from outside, finishing 5-of-7 from 3-point range.
“He just had the openings and knocked them down,” Krzyzewski said. “He was on his way to a 35-40 point game, really. We would have obviously kept calling his number.”
No. 1 Duke (14-0) stayed perfect on the season while Wake Forest dropped to 7-6 overall. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Demon Deacons that included a 66-59 win over Xavier Wednesday in the Skip Prosser Classic.
Seth Curry also finished with 22 for the Blue Devils. Mason Plumlee had 13 points and 12 rebounds and freshman Rasheed Sulaimon finished with 12.
“When you’re trying to take Mason and Seth out of the game, it opens up a little more for Ryan, said Krzyzewski. “That’s why Rasheed and Quinn (Cook) scoring will be big and has been big, but will be even bigger as we go forward because people are going to try and take different things away from us.”
Kelly caught fire early, banging in back-to-back 3s to put Duke up 19-14. Another Kelly jumper from downtown had the Devils up 34-19 with 6:29 to play in the half.
“We have players on our team that can create, a lot of focus has to be on them,” said Kelly. “There has to be some kind of help side. I have to kind of find seams and look for openings.”
Cook couldn’t find his shot, but did uncover some of the openings Kelly alluded to. The sophomore guard was 0-for-11 from the field, but dished out 14 assists.
Duke led 41-30 at the half despite being outshot from the field 42.3 percent to 36.4.
Kelly had four of his 3s by halftime and all three of Curry’s outside jumpers came in the first half.
“He benefitted from guys doubling Mason and guys getting to the paint and kicking out,” Curry said of Kelly. “He stepped up to his shots with confidence and knocked them down. If he does that, that makes us a better team.”
Duke opened the second half on a 9-2 run capped by Kelly’s fifth triple of the contest.
Demon Deacons coach Jeff Bzdelik said Kelly’s intelligence and craftiness in the post make him a great player in addition to his shooting ability.
“He’s like a point guard out there because when he catches the basketball, he can do a lot of things with it,” Bzdelik said.
Junior forward Travis McKie led Wake Forest with 22 points and senior guard C.J. Harris had 19.
Duke looks to preserve its No. 1 ranking Tuesday at home against Clemson.
“We just have to continue to have a chip on our shoulder and be out there saying that we need to prove something to someone every time,” said Kelly. “Everybody wants to take us down from that spot and everybody wants that spot. We can’t allow them to take it from us.”
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