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No. 2 Duke falls behind big, can't recover in 87-75 loss - the Blue Devils' 1st all year

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RALEIGH, North Carolina — Things have suddenly gotten a bit tougher for No. 2 Duke now that the Blue Devils are in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

After a series of double-digit wins to start the season, the Blue Devils followed a tougher-than-expected road win against an instate ACC rival by losing for the first time this season, at North Carolina State.

Duke trailed at halftime for the first time and by 19 in the second half in Sunday's 87-75 loss to the Wolfpack, a game that Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski said would be a lesson for a team led by freshmen.

"I don't think we were as a tough as we needed to be," he said. "I don't think that means we're bad people or anything. I think you learn through experience how tough you need to be."

Duke had won its first 13 games by at least 10 points before Wednesday's 73-65 win at Wake Forest, where the Blue Devils faced their first second-half deficit of the season. This time, they just couldn't keep up with a hot-shooting Wolfpack team that played with aggressive confidence.

"We'll definitely look back and be like, 'Man, we've got to dive on the floor, we've got to do the things that make Duke what Duke is,'" sophomore Matt Jones said. "So we'll definitely learn from this."

For N.C. State, Trevor Lacey scored 21 points and the Wolfpack shot 55 percent to knock off one of the last three undefeated teams in the country.

The Wolfpack (12-5, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) ran constant double teams at preseason All-American Jahlil Okafor to slow Duke's big man. N.C. State made 10 of 16 3-pointers and shot 58 percent after the break.

Okafor finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, but the Blue Devils (14-1, 2-1) shot 37 percent.

The Wolfpack ran off seven straight scoring possessions to build a 72-53 lead — Duke's biggest deficit all season by far — then did enough to turn away the Blue Devils' late comeback attempts.

Ralston Turner scored 11 of his 16 points after halftime, including two straight 3s to break open a tie game. And BeeJay Anya added a career-high 14 points, giving the Wolfpack some of the inside production coach Mark Gottfried has been looking for all season.

Quinn Cook scored 18 points for Duke, which missed 20 of 27 3-point tries.

PHOTO: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, left, speaks with an official during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. North Carolina State won 87-75. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, left, speaks with an official during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. North Carolina State won 87-75. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

With Duke's loss, No. 1 Kentucky and No. 3 Virginia are the nation's last two unbeatens.


TIP-INS

Duke: The Blue Devils tweaked their starting lineup for the first time, going with Jones instead of Amile Jefferson. ... Duke has lost four of five in this building, falling to N.C. State here in 2010 and 2013 then losing to Mercer in its NCAA tournament opener last year. ... Jones' 3 with 1:37 left got Duke as close as 76-69 late. ... Duke hadn't trailed by more than six all season.

N.C. State: This marked the first time since 1992 that N.C. State played consecutive games against top-five opponents. The Wolfpack lost at No. 3 Virginia on Wednesday. ... Freshman power forward Abdul-Malik Abu had eight points and eight rebounds.

SWAT TEAM

N.C. State came in ranked 12th nationally with 6.1 blocks per game. The Wolfpack swatted 10 against the Blue Devils, four apiece from Anya and Kyle Washington.

UNFRIENDLY CONFINES

Duke has now lost four of five in PNC Arena, including a 2010 loss to the Wolfpack — again, with a court-storming celebration. Duke also lost to Mercer here in last year's NCAA tournament opener. "I've never won here," said Cook, Duke's lone scholarship senior. "I'm 0-3. It's just a bitter taste in my mouth about this building."

UP NEXT

Duke: hosts Miami on Tuesday.

N.C. State: plays another rivalry game, hosting No. 18 North Carolina on Wednesday.


Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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