Blue Devils just keep getting better

Williams scores 27 points as No. 2 Duke beats No. 9 Wake Forest, 85-62

Posted: Thursday, January 25, 2001

Duke's impressive numbers have a chance to border on the unbelievable.

The second-ranked Blue Devils beat No. 9 Wake Forest 85-62 on Wednesday night, their 52nd victory in their last 54 Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season games.

Jason Williams scored 27 points to lead Duke (18-1, 6-0), which had 14 3-pointers to improve on the nation-leading 10.4 per game. The 14-for-26 effort from beyond the arc came against a team which was allowing opponents to shoot 25 percent from 3-point range.

"Those are the shots we take when we're up 30 or we're up 3," Duke forward Shane Battier said. "That just comes from building habits. Even if we miss a few, if we have a look, we're going to take it."

Now the Blue Devils, who have won eight straight since a one-point loss to No. 1 Stanford on Dec. 21, continue a brutal stretch in their schedule -- at No. 8 Maryland on Saturday and at home against No. 5 North Carolina next Thursday.

"That's why we come to Duke," Battier said. "You don't come to Duke to pad your stats against I-AA patsies and lower level division schools. This is a blast."

Depends on which side of the Cameron Indoor Stadium scoreboard you're on.

"Our team played like we felt we could win this game, and I was very pleased with that," Wake Forest coach Dave Odom said after his team lost to Duke for the ninth straight time. "And I wanted us to look like a team throughout and I think we did that.

"I've seen some teams come in here and felt like they had a chance to win it only to fracture as a team, heads go down, quit playing -- our team didn't do that. That is a big step forward for us."

The Demon Deacons (14-4, 3-4) have lost four of their last six and fell to 0-4 on the road in the ACC.

"In this league you have to protect your home court and go on the road and get some victories," said Duke center Carlos Boozer of Juneau, who was held to just four points but grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists. "We come to play every game, whether it's a top-25 team of a team that's unranked."

Broderick Hicks had 16 points for Wake Forest, which played without leading scorer Josh Howard (14.5), who had the flu.

Williams, who came in averaging 23.5 points in his last 12 games, was cleared to play before the game when a sore right foot, which had been bothering him for two weeks, was diagnosed as a strain.

"No pain, no gain," Williams said after hitting five 3-pointers. "I really wanted to play this game. I was really scared because I felt maybe the doctor was going to find a stress fracture. But everything came out good. I give my mother credit for that. She prayed for me."

Battier added 22 points for Duke, while Mike Dunleavy matched his career high with 21 points and had seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals.

No. 3 Michigan St. 74, Northwestern 58

Jason Richardson scored 16 points and Zach Randolph added 15 points and six rebounds as the Spartans (16-1, 5-1) won their first Big Ten road game. Andre Hutson, playing his first game since being sidelined with pneumonia, had six points in 17 minutes.

No. 5 North Carolina 88, No. 13 Virginia 81

Joseph Forte scored 33 points and the Tar Heels (16-2, 6-0 ACC) extended their winning streak to 13 games.

Roger Mason had 17 points for the visiting Cavaliers (13-4, 2-4), who closed within 54-51 five minutes into the second half only to see Forte score nine points in an 11-6 run during the next four minutes.

No. 12 Arizona 86, Arizona St. 75

Gilbert Arenas had four 3-pointers and scored 23 points and Jason Gardner had 22 points, including a career-high six 3-pointers for Arizona (13-5, 6-1 Pac-10), which won its fifth straight overall and 11th in a row over Arizona State. Chad Prewitt had 18 points for the visiting Sun Devils (8-10, 0-7).

No. 14 Florida 65, Auburn 63

Udonis Haslem scored 26 points and Brett Nelson had 15 of his 17 on 3-pointers as the Gators (12-4, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) held on for the road win.

Scott Pohlman had 12 points for the Tigers (12-7, 2-4), who missed three shots in the final seconds.

No. 15 Wisconsin 57, Ohio St. 42

Roy Boone had 13 points for the Badgers (12-4, 3-3 Big Ten), who held Ohio State to 25 percent shooting (11-for-44), their best defensive effort since Feb. 4, 1956, when Northwestern shot 24.2 percent in a 79-55 loss to Wisconsin.

Brian Brown was 3-for-15 from the field but led the visiting Buckeyes (12-7, 3-4) with 14 points.

Oklahoma 75, No. 20 Texas 68

J.R. Raymond scored 21 points and Hollis Price added 17 for the Sooners (14-4, 3-3 Big 12), who scored 18 of their final 20 points from the free-throw line.

Darren Kelly, who didn't score until four minutes into the second half, led the visiting Longhorns (15-4, 4-2) with 10 points, eight below his average.

No. 21 Iowa 87, Minnesota 74

Reggie Evans had 25 points and 10 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season to lead the visiting Hawkeyes (15-4, 4-2) Big Ten. J.B Bickerstaff and Terrance Simmons each had 15 points for the Gophers (15-4, 3-3).

Villanova 70, No. 24 Connecticut 59

Michael Bradley had 20 points and 15 rebounds as the Wildcats (12-5, 4-2 Big East) snapped a four-game losing streak to Connecticut.

Freshman Caron Butler had 14 points for the Huskies (13-6, 2-4), who lost at home for the first time this season and has lost four straight overall.

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