Blue Devils win behind dominating defense

Published 3:45 am Friday, January 19, 2007

By By AARON BEARD, AP Sports Writer
DURHAM — Greg Paulus scored 17 points and Josh McRoberts had 11 points in a solid all-around performance to lead No. 14 Duke past Wake Forest 62-40 on Thursday night.
The Blue Devils (15-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won two straight since consecutive league losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
Kyle Visser scored 12 points to lead the Demon Deacons (9-8, 1-4), who matched their second-lowest scoring total since the ACC’s inaugural season in 1953-54.
The Blue Devils were hardly an offensive machine, shooting 44 percent and going nearly six minutes without a point in the second half. Still, they had little trouble extending the Demon Deacons’ misery in Cameron Indoor Stadium, winning for the 10th straight season here.
Wake Forest has lost each one of those games by double figures and hasn’t won here since Tim Duncan’s senior season.
McRoberts finished with eight rebounds, six assists and three blocks in 37 minutes.
Duke’s defense caused trouble just about all night, forcing the untested Demon Deacons into 1-on-1 plays that managed little more than numerous missed shots. Wake Forest shot 33 percent for the game and easily passed its previous low of 58 points scored in a loss to Air Force in November.
Meanwhile, freshman point guard Ishmael Smith — the ACC’s assist leader at 6.3 per game — finished with no assists and eight turnovers while being hounded all night by the ‘‘Cameron Crazies.’’
Duke got better play at the point from Paulus, who scored 14 first-half points — including four 3-pointers — to help the Blue Devils build a 35-21 halftime lead.
He didn’t get a lot of scoring help from his teammates, who had trouble knocking down shots much of the night. Duke missed 14 of 19 shots to open the second half — which included that six-minute drought — yet Wake Forest was unable to cut the lead below double figures.
Eventually, the Blue Devils pushed the lead to 55-35 on a dunk by McRoberts with three minutes left, and Paulus drained his final 3 to make it 62-38 in the final minute.