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Duke Snares FSU, 79-60

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Years ago, after a remarkable win by the Celtics, Kevin McHale said something like this: "one of these days, when Birdie and I are both retired, I'll look back on games like this in wonder."

Pretty much the way we felt after watching Duke just run an absolute clinic on Florida State. How do you measure a game this good?

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Well you can start here: Duke played without about 75% of their big men: Ryan Kelly sat with a boot on his foot, while Mason Plumlee got in early foul trouble and played just 25 minutes, scoring only eight points and grabbing just five rebounds, both far below his average.

Duke didn't suffer at all in his absence; on the contrary, they pushed the lead out further.

Led largely by remarkable three point shooting from Seth Curry (5-7), Quinn Cook (7-12) and Rasheed Sulaimon (6-11), Duke scored 33 points from behind the bonus line. Florida State, by contrast, scored nine, shooting 3-13.

It's tempting to underscore that and say "see? There's your difference!" Only it was so much more than that. The better part of it was defense, and no one played it much better than Rasheed Sulaimon.

Given the unenviable assignment of guarding FSU's Michael Snaer, Sulaimon proved more than up to the task, shutting Snaer out for the first half. Given the confidence Snaer has shown lately, and the competitive nature for which he is justly celebrated, that's a remarkable accomplishment for a freshman.

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In the second half, with Curry guarding him more, Snaer managed to put up seven. He finished just 3-13 for seven points.

But it wasn't just the star; the rest of the team, with the exception of Aaron Thomas, was held in check.

Thomas finished with 14 off the benc; no FSU starter managed more than seven.

It was a total effort on defense. There really wasn't a weak link.

If you want to get down to it, that's what happened in this game: unity.

For one measure, Duke had 20 assists on 31 field goals including one of the best plays of the game when Cook rebounded a missed shot in the lane and passed it to Tyler Thornton while still in the air. Thornton jumped, caught it, and laid it in.

That was one of Cook's six assists; Thornton also had five, Curry had three, Plumlee had two and Amile Jefferson had one.

Speaking of Jefferson, he had perhaps his best game yet at Duke. It wasn't entirely his production, although 11 points, four boards, one assist, one steal and one block is nothing to sneer at.

Rather it was his court presence, typified by one play: Jefferson cut to the basket expecting a pass. When it came at shoulder height (or really a bit higher) he caught it, took it in stride without bringing it down, and scored.

It's a small but promising detail. It's amazing how many guys never learn to do that.

There are a lot of good things to take away from this game, but nothing much better than the fact that they played together with passion, intelligence and purpose.

Next up is State in Durham. The Pack did very well against Miami, losing only on a last-second tip-in. Duke has improved since the game in Raleigh. The rematch should be tremendous. And it's worth mentioning that having played just 25 and 27 minutes respectively, Plumlee and Curry should be fiarly fresh.