DURHAM, N.C.> (WNCN) – Duke beat Elon Saturday evening in convincing fashion with an 87-56 final.

But the score and the game were really just a blurb in the cliff notes – the real story is how the Blue Devils got there.

In 72 hours, the Duke had three different opponents on the schedule for their final game of the non-conference slate – a brash reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.

Their carousel of opponents was not the only reminder for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and his team.

The mask that adorned his face for the first time this season served as one as did the absence of Nolan Smith.

Duke’s assistant coach was ruled out of Saturday’s game due to the school’s health and safety protocols.

With games being canceled left and right in every level of sports and COVID making its appearance on the homefront in Durham, Coach K is now calling for a change in protocol.

“Our sport is being impacted in an amazing fashion with the virus,” Krzyzewski said. “I personally would like to see us go back like last year. We wanted to make sure everyone we played was tested. We don’t have that mandate now.”

Duke’s staff and players were tested twice before Saturday’s contest with Elon, Coach K said they will continue to be tested every day moving forward just to be sure.

The coaching staff has received their booster shots and per university protocol, the rest of the team will have theirs by January but those protocols aren’t conference-wide.

“Can we be sure that would happen everywhere?” Coach K asked. “I would like to know if the other team was tested just before we played moving forward.”

Krzyzewski’s not afraid to ruffle ACC feathers this year, why should he be?

It’s his last.

He insisted the conference can afford to test the night before just to make sure. It’s what they did a year ago and it helped avoid COVID-related forfeits, something K is adamantly against.

“If I’m running a play and it doesn’t work we run another play,” he said in response to being explained the believed purpose of forfeitures (to promote COVID vaccines). “Let’s run another play.”

Duke was thankful to have played Saturday’s game knowing all too well amidst the COVID-19 pandemic the next isn’t a guarantee.