DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Coach Mike Krzyzewski shook things up to try and avoid Duke's first three-game losing streak since the 1995-96 season. But he was smart enough not to mess with J.J. Redick.
Redick broke out of a shooting slump with a career-high 38 points and Lee Melchionni scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half as eighth-ranked Duke pulled away in the second half for a big 102-92 Atlantic Coast Conference triumph over No. 5 Wake Forest.
"I knew that I had to help get us off to a good start (with the new lineup)," Redick said. "I was one of two scoring options out there when we started the game. But more importantly, I just wanted to be a leader tonight. I thought our leadership the last two games wasn't good and that in turn, spread through the rest of the team. We didn't fight at all."
Redick's previous high was 34 against Virginia on January 15, 2003.
Krzyzewski replaced Daniel Ewing, Shavlik Randolph and Sean Dockery in the starting lineup with two walk-ons, Patrick Johnson and Patrick Davidson, and newly-named captain Reggie Love. But he didn't replace Redick, who kept the Blue Devils in the game in the first half and hit some big 3-pointers after intermission.
"We started the team that should start, based on our two practices," Krzyzewski said. "[Davidson] was kind of the captain of that team that started. I loved how he started us out. Some of the great things that happen in coaching are not just coaching Jason Williams or Grant Hill. They're coaching Patrick Davidson in a moment like that and I'm glad I was able to share that moment with him."
With the victory, Duke (19-4, 9-4 ACC) knocked Wake Forest (22-4, 10-3) out of a first-place tie with North Carolina (10-2).
"It was an amazing game. It was the most competitive game we've been in in maybe a couple of years," Krzyzewski said. "Both teams just wanted it so badly.
"I'm proud of our guys. J.J. was unbelievable. Shelden [Williams] gave us strength in the middle the whole game and played 39 minutes. Our bench did great. I thought it was Lee Melchionni's best game."
Redick, who shot just 34 percent (23-of-68) in his last four games, shot 9-of-15 from the floor in this contest, including 6-of-10 from the arc and 14-of-15 from the line. The junior, who scored 33 points in the first game against Wake Forest this season, had not shot over 50 percent from the floor in his last nine outings.
"To start the game they had Gray on me and I thought I could take him off the dribble and shoot over him because he's a smaller defender," Redick said. "Then they switched and put (Jamaal) Levy on me and I just went off screens."
Despite 19 points from Redick and 58 percent shooting (15-of-26), the Blue Devils trailed, 44-42 at the half. But Redick and his teammates jumped all over the Demon Deacons after intermission, scoring 43 points on 15-of-24 shooting in the first 12 minutes to forge an 85-67 advantage.
During the second half outburst, Redick's shot from the arc three minutes in provided Duke with a 49-47 lead that they did not relinquish.
Melchionni hit three straight shots, including a 3-pointer to push the margin to 58-51 with 15 1/2 minutes left. Redick then put away Wake Forest with a 3-pointer and a 4-point play that lifted the Blue Devils to an 81-65 lead with nine minutes to play.
"Melchionni's game was real big because it spread their defense a little bit, which we were unable to do in the first half," Krzyzewski said."
When Wake got within 90-79, Melchionni, who finished with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, canned another 3-pointer with four minutes left to stem the comeback attempt.
Williams had 12 points, nine rebounds, a career-high four assists and four blocks for Duke, which outgunned Wake Forest by shooting 59 percent (32-of-54) to Wake's 51 percent (29-of-57).
Chris Paul overcame a 1-of-6 shooting performance in the first half to finish with 27 points, six rebounds and seven assists. But Paul, who finished 8-of-19, let the physical play throughout get to him when he was whistled for a technical foul during Duke's decisive run when he put the ball in the face of a defender after he was fouled driving to the basket with 13 1/2 minutes to play.
"You just try to stay in front of him," Krzyzewski said. "Sometimes you just hope that he misses and you don't foul him. He's a great player and he has a strong will. Obviously he has talent, but his strong will to win and make plays takes him to an national-elite level."
Reserves Trent Strickland scored 15 points and Taron Downey added 12 for Wake Forest, which had its six-game winning streak snapped.
In a game that featured 55 fouls, Krzyzewski and Demon Deacons coach Skip Prosser came together briefly after Redick was hacked with 42 seconds left after rebounding a miss and coming up holding his left shoulder. The coaches chatted and shook hands in a sign of good sportsmanship.
Duke shot 26-of-33 from the line and Wake shot 26-of-35.
Redick scored the first four baskets for Duke and made his first six shots. He connected on consecutive 3-pointers to give the Blue Devils a 27-20 lead with 9:06 to play in the opening half. The Demon Deacons closed the half on an 8-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Taron Downey for a two-point lead at the break.