After watching his team split a pair of games while giving up an average of 94.5 points, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski decided it was time to remind his young squad about the importance of playing both ends of the court. The sixth-ranked Blue Devils responded with their best defensive performance in a road conference game in nearly three years, and they'll look to carry that effort back home Saturday when they host Wake Forest.

Duke outgunned Florida State 100-93 on Dec. 30 before getting upset by North Carolina State 96-85 one week later, providing the NCAA's all-time winningest coach with all the evidence he needed to convince his freshmen-laden team to lock down on defense. The Blue Devils did exactly that Wednesday, holding Pittsburgh to 33 percent from the field en route to an 87-52 shellacking for their biggest margin of victory in a conference road game since 1999. "We've been practicing like crazy trying to get better (on defense) and we were better tonight. ... They're young kids; we're not deep. They just have to keep learning these new habits and today was a step forward," Krzyzewski said. The Demon Deacons may give Duke another opponent with which to build its defensive profile, as Wake Forest is averaging 69.6 points over its last five games, falling to 1-4 over that stretch following Wednesday's 83-75 setback against Virginia Tech.

TV: Noon ET, ACC Network Extra

ABOUT WAKE FOREST (8-8, 1-3 ACC): Junior center Doral Moore (9.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.2 blocks) was one of the few Demon Deacons to enjoy a productive and moderately efficient game versus the Hokies, finishing with 12 points on 6-of-11 from the field while collecting 13 rebounds and three blocks for his fourth double-double of the season. Bryant Crawford (team-high 15.8 points) had 10 points to reach the 1,200-point mark for his career but shot 4-of-13 and committed four turnovers, forcing reserve guard Brandon Childress to pick up the offensive slack with a career-high tying 17 points. Junior guard Keyshawn Woods (14.6), who missed all but three minutes of the previous two games due to injury, returned Wednesday to produce 12 points in 22 minutes of action.

ABOUT DUKE (14-2, 2-2): Marvin Bagley III (team-high marks of 22.1 points and 11.8 rebounds) tallied 16 points and 15 boards Wednesday to post his ACC-high 13th double-double (second nationally), closing to within one double-double for the most ever by a Blue Devil freshman. Duke was able to overcome a poor offensive performance from Grayson Allen (11 points on 2-of-9 from the field), as backcourt mates Trevon Duval and Gary Trent Jr. poured in 14 points apiece. Wednesday's lopsided result allowed Krzyzewski plenty of opportunity to give his reserves time to shine, and sophomore Justin Robinson rose to the occasion, delivering career highs in points (10), blocked shots (three) and 3-pointers (three) in only 18 minutes.

TIP-INS

1. Duke has won each of the last six meetings and 14 of the last 15 overall.

2. Crawford is 11 assists away from becoming the first Demon Deacon to amass at least 1,200 points and 400 assists in his career before his senior year.

3. The Blue Devils became the fourth team with an active 3-point streak of at least 1,000 games in Wednesday's victory.

PREDICTION: Duke 88, Wake Forest 70


NCAA Basketball , basketball