The Wake Forest Demon Deacons hosted the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils on Tuesday night in Winston-Salem. The ACC rivals were both playing their second-to-last games of the 2011-12 regular season and Duke was the clear favorite on paper. Wake Forest made a game of it late, but a big early lead for the Blue Devils held up en route to the 79-71 victory for the visitors.
Duke opened an 11-point lead and headed into halftime on top by a score of 39-28. Wake Forest regrouped in the second half and outscored the Blue Devils 43-40, but the early deficit proved to be too much to overcome.
Duke's Ryan Kelly led all scorers with 23 points, also picking up eight rebounds. Seth Curry also contributed 15 points to the winning effort. On the Wake Forest side, Nikita Mescheriakov led the Demon Deacons' scoring by racking up 18 points.
With the win, Duke improves to 26-4 overall, with a 13-2 record in the ACC, where it remains a half-game ahead of the North Carolina Tar Heels. Wake Forest falls to 13-16 overall, with a 4-11 record in conference play.
Duke will wrap up its regular season on Saturday, when it hosts North Carolina. Wake Forest will also play its season finale on Saturday, traveling to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
For all news and information regarding the Duke Blue Devils, please visit Duke Basketball Report. For updates and perspective on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, head on over to Blogger So Dear. For complete coverage of the NCAA basketball season and beyond, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated college hoops hub.