After an unseasonably warm couple of days, the weather turned cooler on the day of the Duke-Wake Forest game. Walking up to Cameron Indoor Stadium one could see tent city in full bloom. The students were back in force to cheer on their beloved Blue Devils who sought to get back in the thick of the ACC race with a win.
But things were far from normal on this day. About an hour before tip-off, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski decided not to coach in the game. He had just come down with a stomach virus and he did not want to make his players sick, especially with a trip to Miami on the horizon where Duke has to take on the Hurricanes in just over a day away.
Add Gary Trent Jr. to the list of sick players as well. Trent hovered over a trash can on the bench but would play in the game. Duke was also without the services of Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden, but the team did not give in to the pressure. Instead, they rose to the occasion and came away with an 89-71 win over Wake Forest.
Duke Associate Assistant Coach Jeff Capel took the reigns in Krzyzewski's absence. And Capel looked more than a little comfortable taking over the role with short notice. After all, this is not his first rodeo.
Capel substituted enough to keep the players fresh in the game. The involvement seems to have helped Duke in wins over Pitt and Wake Forest which has pushed the team's record to 3-2 in the ACC and 15-2 overall.
Of course, it is nice when Capel has Marvin Bagley III (30 points, 11 rebounds) on the floor. Bagley threw down some emphatic dunks on his way to his 14th double-double of the season which ties the Duke record for a freshman.
Bagley also has 4 steals. And, of course, some of those led to crushing dunks. Some of the students were donning his face on their shirts which his Dad had made.
Wendell Carter Jr. (15 points, 11 rebounds) chipped in with a double-double as well. The duo were also beasts on the glass and altered many Wake Forest shots over the course of the game.
Grayson Allen continues to struggle with his shot. But he earned the praise of Coach Capel in that while only scoring 2 points he led the team in rebounding with 12 and assists, dishing 8 dimes.
Despite being really sick, Trent Jr. nailed three consecutive three-point shots and played another good overall floor game. Capel praised his toughness where he tallied 19 points.
Duke played a zone for much of the game and they were active in it when doing so. The Blue Devils held a good Wake offense down when Capel went back to it in the 2nd half, after they cut into the Duke lead and closed to within 13.
Due to the closeness of the two games, the staff will not be able to go on the road and watch some key prospects in the Hall of Fame Classic. It is unknown when Krzyzewski and player Bolden and DeLaurier will return.