Plumlee leads No. 5 Duke past Wake Forest 75-70
Mason Plumlee scored a career-high 32 points and No. 5 Duke held off Wake Forest 75-70 on Wednesday night.
Seth Curry added 21 points, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer in the final minutes for the Blue Devils (18-2, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference).
They shot nearly 52 percent — despite going just 2-for-14 from 3-point range — and got a huge night from their senior big man to earn their first road victory of the season.
Freshman Devin Thomas had 15 points for the Demon Deacons (10-10, 3-5), who were denied their second upset of a nationally ranked state rival in eight nights.
C.J. Harris and Travis McKie added 14 points each for Wake Forest, which led 66-65 on Tyler Cavanaugh's three-point play with 4:02 left.
Plumlee finished 12 of 15 from the field and 8 of 10 at the free throw line. His free throw with 3:48 left tied it at 66.
Curry then put the Blue Devils ahead to stay with his 3-pointer — just the Blue Devils' second of the night — on their next possession.
After Madison Jones pulled the Demon Deacons to 69-68 on a backdoor layup with 1:40 left, Wake Forest came up empty on its next two trips downcourt while the Blue Devils pulled away.
Plumlee made it 71-68 with a layup over Thomas with 1:16 left, and Rasheed Sulaimon's pullup jumper pushed the lead to five with 27.6 seconds to go.
After Plumlee blocked Harris' layup with about 20 seconds left, Quinn Cook hit a free throw with 15.8 left to make it 74-68.
McKie's basket with 3.1 seconds to go pulled Wake Forest to 74-70, but Curry iced it on a free throw with 2.4 seconds to go.
Cook finished with 12 points for the Blue Devils, who claimed their seventh straight win in the series and denied the Demon Deacons their biggest win since knocking off then-No. 1 Duke four years ago. Wake Forest upset North Carolina State eight nights earlier behind 25 points and 14 rebounds from Thomas.
Every time Duke threatened to pull away in this one, the Demon Deacons found a way to claw back.
Wake Forest twice trailed by eight in the second half before rallying. After Sulaimon put Duke up 52-44 with a free throw with 14:40 left, Thomas keyed a 16-6 run that followed and Harris put the Demon Deacons up 60-58 with a sliding jumper with 8 minutes to go.
Duke played its fifth straight game without 6-foot-11 forward Ryan Kelly. He's out indefinitely with a right foot injury — and that was a break for a Wake Forest team that he had tormented through the years: Four of Kelly's five career 20-point games came against the Demon Deacons.
His primary replacements — freshman Amile Jefferson and junior Josh Hairston — combined for six rebounds and two points on 1-of-3 shooting.