Duhon's buzzer-beater leads Duke past Wake Forest, 82-80

Posted: Sunday, February 25, 2001

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Chris Duhon has had to wait his turn behind a lineup of star players for No. 4 Duke. The freshman's moment came Saturday.

Duhon hit a running, off-balance 15-footer at the buzzer as the Blue Devils (25-3, 12-2 ACC) rallied in the closing minutes to beat No. 24 Wake Forest 82-80.

"That's a shot you practice, but it's usually used when big men are coming to block your shot, to shoot it over them," the 6-foot-2 Duhon said. "I knew I didn't have time to set up and shoot a jumper, so I just played off instinct."

Robert O'Kelley's 3-pointer for Wake Forest with 7.5 seconds left tied it 80-80. But Duke raced downcourt and Duhon, the team's top reserve all year, hit the winner over Broderick Hicks as the Blue Devils defeated the Demon Deacons for the 10th straight time.

"O'Kelley was O'Kelley," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Wake Forest senior who has scored 1,830 career points. "What a shot he hits to tie the game. It was like an incredible play had to beat an incredible play."

The Blue Devils had lost their previous conference road game, 91-89 at Virginia on Feb. 14. That defeat ended Duke's record 24-game road winning streak in the ACC.

On Saturday, the Blue Devils trailed by nine with 5:29 left. But they went on a 14-2 run to take an 80-77 lead as Jason Williams, hurt early in the second half, returned to score 26 points.

Williams hit a 3-pointer and a shot in the lane during Duke's late spurt. He also fed Duhon for the winning basket.

"Chris has the ability to float," Krzyzewski said. "It's not the last of shots like that that he'll hit."

Early in the season, Williams said he may have opted to take a 3-pointer instead of passing to his fellow guard.

"Heck, I think Chris is a better shooter than me," said Williams, the ACC's top 3-point ace. "I went up and he caught my eye so I dished it off to him.

"We've grown up a lot together," Williams added. "In the beginning of the year he was in position, but he wouldn't shoot the ball. Truthfully, at the beginning of the year I don't know if I would have passed him the ball, but he has built some confidence and is going to be a heck of a basketball player."

The loss means the Demon Deacons (18-9, 7-8), ranked as high as No. 4 on Jan. 1, must win at North Carolina State on Sunday to reach .500 in the league.

"We lost the game, but we didn't lose our heart, we didn't lose our spirit," Wake Forest coach Dave Odom said. "As a matter of fact, I believe those things grew today."

Rafael Vidaurreta, one of three honored on Senior Day, enjoyed season highs with 11 points and 12 rebounds for Wake Forest, while O'Kelley led with 17 points.

Carlos Boozer of Juneau added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Duke, which recorded its 10th 25-win season under Krzyzewski in 20 years. The coach also moved within four wins of 600 for his career.

Duke received a major scare when Williams, the third-leading scorer in the ACC at 20.8 points a game, hurt his left leg. He landed awkwardly as he drove to the basket in the opening minute of the second half.

But the sophomore star returned with a limp two minutes later. He then appeared fine as the game progressed and proved clutch down the stretch as Duke sank 10 of 24 3-pointers.

"The feeling of winning takes away all of that pain," Williams said of his sore calf muscle. "Even though I was hurt, I didn't want to show my team where they were like, 'Oh, Jason is hurt.' I just want my team worrying about us winning the game."

Wake Forest missed eight of its first 10 shots, but made 10 of its next 14 to take the lead in a close first half.

The biggest lead in the opening 20 minutes for either team was seven when Krzyzewski was called for a technical foul after arguing that Mike Dunleavy was tripped on a play.

Krzyzewski stomped his foot and circled his team's huddle during a timeout to berate official Steve Gordon.

Once things settled down, Duke responded during the final 5:43 of the half. The Blue Devils got 3-pointers from Shane Battier and Williams and a basket at the buzzer from Nate James for a one-point lead at halftime. It was the 23rd time in 28 games the Blue Devils have led at the half.

"Duke is a splendid team, they really are," Odom said. "They are very talented, very skilled, and has excellent leadership from the top down. That's what you want to measure yourself by -- greatness. I think our team withstood that test today."



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