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Duke went down to Tallahassee with a two-year losing streak there and came
back with at least a share of the ACC regular season championship.
As we always note, while the league honors the regular season winner, the
champion is the winner of the ACC Tournament, so Duke has won nothing yet except
Florida State has been lately, particularly in Tallahassee, a tough matchup
for Duke. Tim Pickett has been their ignition for some time, and he tried
his best to do that in Sunday's game, but the 'Noles couldn't quite get over the
Duke played a different sort of a game in some ways. If you had told us
before the game that Redick would almost get blanked from the floor, and that
Ewing would go stone cold and the two together would go 2-17 from three point
range, and that Shelden Williams would foul out, well, we might have gone
bowling instead. Just kidding!
This team had a major gutcheck in Florida and passed it with flying
colors his teammate could toss it in the air to celebrate, his big shot against
Florida State at home, and his headlong pursuit of the ball when the game was on
the line tonight.
Did you see that? He knocked it loose then raced Pickett downcourt.
He dove for the ball, it bounced funny, Pickett couldn't control it, and it fell
out of bounds: Duke ball.
It's a small play, but telling. That's what Duhon has done all season,
and what he has done with even greater intensity these past few games. You
can see other guys picking their intensity up from his example. That's
what great point guards - great players of any position - do. A lot of
Duke's players are diving for balls, but Duhon is the definitive floorburn
Deng was also very impressive. For parts of this game, he left his supporting
mentality behind and took over, and was really impressive. He penetrated,
he took shots outside, blocked shots, stole the ball, did pretty much anything
you could ever want.
Though Shelden Williams fouled out, he is increasingly becoming a powerful
force down low. The shotblocking and the rebounding are his calling cards
and somewhat established, but we're excited to see his offense bloom and most
particularly, his footwork improve. He was born with ability, but he's
really refining it now.
JJ Redick had a terrible shooting night, but he still maintained his
intensity and made some sharp passes and had some key rebounds.
That was true for a lot of people. Though it never really felt as if
Duke was going to lose, it wasn't as if FSU was going away. Duke held on
in a number of ways, though. They hit the last twelve free throws, for one
thing. For another, Nick Horvath got a huge rebound after a missed Duke layup:
had FSU gotten the ball, they could have made it a one-point game.
All things considered, it's a really useful game for this point in the
season. There was a certain amount of struggle, some extra effort, some
really strong passion for the game and for the team. The team showed some
extra grit and resourcefulness, and with March here, that's great news.
Notes - Ewing and Duhon got 39 minutes apiece....Deng ended up with 20
points and 9 boards, Williams with 14/9...Wiliams was also 5-6 from the
floor...Florida State had 19 turnovers...