Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 1/30/13
WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- Duke escaped Joel Coliseum with a narrow victory Wednesday night, averting what would have been a damaging and somewhat embarrassing defeat. Losing at Wake Forest isnt the shame it was the last couple of seasons. After all, Xavier, Virginia and North Carolina State have fallen here over the last month. But fifth-ranked Duke is a different animal, even if the Blue Devils are battling through an identity crisis in the post-Ryan Kelly injury portion of their season, and. Duke doesnt lose games like this in ACC play. At least history says the Mike Krzyzewski-coached Devils dont. And Duke (18-2, 5-2 ACC) didnt on this night, even though Wake earned more wow points and gained the respect of many ACC eyes in the 75-70 final. But the devil is in the details - the minutiae of the game - which has been a common denominator of Duke teams for decades. Coach always stresses us to do the little things, that little things win games, especially on the defensive end, said Duke junior forward Josh Hairston. We knew this game would be won on the defensive end and those are the plays you have to make to win games. Hairston was Dukes poster boy for late-game little things on this night. He had a rough first half, especially on defense, and heard about it from Krzyzewski at halftime. But the Fredericksburg, Va, native dug down and saved some of the best basketball of his Duke career for the games most crucial moments. Two plays, in particular, stand out: Caught in a switch on defense, Hairston blocked a leaning jumper by Wake guard C.J. Harris with 3:17 left and the score tied. And then with 21 seconds remaining, Mason Plumlee blocked a Wake shot, and with the ball falling out of bounds, Hairston made a terrific save, passed the ball to a teammate and Duke was able to ice the game. Two plays that wont make one highlight reel, except maybe when the Blue Devils watch the game film, were huge, especially for a player that could have wilted earlier but didnt. I thought he played very poorly in the first half. I mean not poor, I thought very poorly, Krzyzewski said about Hairston. And most kids, thats it for the night. Hes got equity so we put him back in, and in the second half he really played well. Besides those plays, he gave us a good unit out there for the time that he was in. Hairston wasnt the only Blue Devil who did the little things. This was the kind of gritty victory that required a games worth of dirty work. Consider that senior sharpshooter Seth Curry didnt hit his only 3-pointer on the night until 3:01 remained - and it broke a 66-66 tie and that freshman forward Amile Jefferson, who had replaced Hairston in the starting lineup three games ago, failed to score and was in foul trouble all night. In addition, Duke didnt have the services of Kelly, who was a Demon Deacons assassin when healthy. He had scored 20 or more points against Wake (10-10, 3-5) in the teams four previous meetings against each other. So this victory was as much, if not more, about the little things than it was Plumlees 32 points and Currys 21. Well be really good when guys realize big plays are not just a dunk or a big basket, but getting a loose ball, taking a charge, getting a block, Plumlee said. There are so many ways to have an impact on the game, and when those guys do that it makes us really good. Like Krzyzewski said, Hairston had some equity, got another opportunity and he made the most of it. That has long been the Duke way, and he personified it on this night. Thats what Ive always done, even in high school, said Hairston, who had 2 points and 3 rebounds in 14 minutes. I really dont care as long as my team wins, and as long as I can help my team thats what Im gonna do. And on this night, he and his teammates did just that.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Report: Giants will be ‘aggressive’ in trying to sign Jason Pierre-Paul

Report: Porzingis avoided ligament damage in ankle

Brooks Koepka meltdown includes whiff, stomping head off driver

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker