WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Duke's situation looked dire with foul trouble, but some crisp execution rescued the 14th-ranked Blue Devils on Wednesday night.
"We had some rotations that fans probably hadn't seen before," senior center Marshall Plumlee said of player combinations on the court. "No one person is going to do it. It resulted in a memorable win."
Guard Grayson Allen scored 24 points despite a foul-plagued second half as Duke fought off Wake Forest for a 91-75 victory at Lawrence Joel Coliseum.
The Blue Devils never trailed after the opening minutes, but it was dicey at times as fouls mounted and key players sat out for stretches.
"It didn't look good, let's put it that way," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the situation. "We had to play a great second half in order to win and we did."
Guard Luke Kennard's 23 points off the bench, guard Brandon Ingram's 17 points and Plumlee's career-high 18 points lifted Duke (13-2, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
"We made it a team win," Plumlee said. "We could be thrown some adversity and foul trouble and come together and win."
Forward Devin Thomas scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half for Wake Forest (9-5, 0-2), but he eventually encountered foul difficulties, too.
Guard Codi Miller-McIntyre added 20 points, forward Cornelius Hudson chipped in 12 points and forward John Collins had 11 points for the Demon Deacons, who were aiming for a conquest of a top 15 team for the second time this season.
"Duke's perimeter players got into the paint far too many times," Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said. "We had some opportunities tonight to make it a different ball game."
Duke fell into foul trouble with guard Matt Jones and Allen each picking up their fourth with more than 16 minutes to play.
The Blue Devils maintained a narrow lead despite Jones and Allen on the bench for an extended stretch.
Plumlee converted dunks on back-to-back possessions as part of an 8-0 spurt to give Duke a 73-63 lead.
Kennard had a three-point play with 4:17 left to push the margin to 80-70.
Miller-McIntyre scored eight straight Wake Forest points to keep the Demon deacons in range. The senior guard ended up with a season-high total in just his sixth game back after suffering a preseason foot injury.
Earlier in the second half, Thomas was assessed a technical foul with18:06 remaining. Duke converted four free throws in one trip for a 56-49 edge.
Thomas shot 9 of 11 from the field and grabbed 12 rebounds in 27 minutes. The Demon Deacons could have used him on the court longer.
"We missed his presence," Manning said. "He kept us in the ball game for quite some time with his ability to attack."
Thomas had four fouls by the eight-minute mark, allowing more room for Plumlee, who was 7 of 7 from the field, in the lane. Thomas fouled out with 48 seconds to play.
"Devin played extremely hard," Miller-McIntyre said. "About two of the fouls were because the guards (missed assignments)."
Plumlee, who was 4 of 4 on free throws, pulled in a team-high seven rebounds.
"Marshall was sensational, not good," Krzyzewski said. "It was just an uplifting thing (the way he played)."
Duke carried a 50-47 lead to halftime, marking the fourth time this season it reached 50 points in the opening half.
The Blue Devils shot 60 percent from the field (18 of 30) in the first half, but Wake Forest was at 54.5 percent (18 of 33).
Duke led 40-29 in large part because it made 13 of its first 19 shots from the field.
Thomas went on a scoring tear late in the first half, scoring 15 points in a nine-minute stretch as the Demon Deacons pulled within 46-45.
Wake Forest held a 20-9 advantage in first-half rebounding, with half of its boards at the offensive end.
NOTES: Duke has rarely opened ACC play with consecutive road games, but the Blue Devils entered this season having only once under coach Mike Krzyzewski won twice when beginning league competition with two road outings. ... Wake Forest played a reigning ACC champion for the 26th time, going 7-18 in the previous 25 encounters. ... Duke made an ACC-best 8.6 shots from 3-point range coming into the game. It finished with six in this game. ... Wake Forest hasn't won a game by more than 10 points this season. ... Duke returns home for a Saturday afternoon game against Virginia Tech. Wake Forest plays Sunday night at home against North Carolina State.