Well, that was fun.
Duke may not play in a more hostile environment this season than Florida State’s Donald L. Tucker Center, After dominating the early going, Zion Williamson went down for the count with an eye injury, depleting not only Duke’s talent-base but also further enhancing 13th-ranked FSU’s deep bench. Basically, Duke played six players in the second half.
If adversity makes you better, Duke got a lot better Saturday afternoon.
A high-pressure, physical slug-fest that could easily could have slipped away more times than we can count.
But it was the young, iron-man visitors that were standing after 40 minutes, 80-78 victors. And it was Cam Reddish who hit the game-winner, the final 3 of his 23 points, a clutch, slump-busting performance
“We just got to be a part of an amazing basketball game,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “Both teams played so darn hard, the crowd was unbelievable. I mean, we were fortunate to win, and therefore it is a great win.”.
We’ll never know how this game would have turned out had Williamson not been injured. He had 11 points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes. With Williamson, Reddish and R.J. Barrett all hitting for the first time in awhile, Duke flirted with gaining a significant first-half lead. A Barrett 3-pointer put Duke up 25-16, a Reddish layup 29-19, a Tre Jones layup 36-29.
But Duke’s offense got stuck in neutral, two points in the final 3:40, while FSU took a 39-38 lead into the locker room on a P.J. Savoy bomb.
The Seminoles closed the first half on an 8-0 run, the kind of late-half blow Duke often delivers but rarely receives.
Duke was up 38-33 when Williamson went down and out. Williamson came back out for the second half but took a seat on the bench and became a cheer-leader.
Krzyzewski said that Williamson had double vision but added that his freshman phenom did not have any headaches and hoped he would be ready Monday night.
Williamson’s absence was obvious in the second half. It was FSU that was grabbing the rebounds, blocking the shots, attacking inside. The Seminole lob became lethal.
Chris Koumadje, looking every inch of 7’4,” slammed it home twice in the early part of the second half.
Duke led by three a couple of times early in the second half but another FSU run, 10-0 this time, gave them a 55-50 lead, with 13 minutes left.
FSU could never build on that five-point lead, as Barrett and Reddish kept answering for Duke.
“I’m proud of our team, our young team,” Krzyzewski said. “They fought that whole second half. RJ and Cam made big plays. I thought finally we stopped letting them dunk on us. We started switching and that helped, and then we came up with a couple of big defensive rebounds.”
The teams traded baskets down the stretch, neither team leading by more than three points over the final 10:21.
With Williamson out, Duke went to Barrett and Reddish, Reddish and Barrett, over and over, with Tre Jones directing the show with typical aplomb.
Javin DeLaurier, Marques Bolden and Jack White combined for six points, in 65 minutes.
FSU answered with a spectacular bench performance from Mfiondu Kabengele, 24 points in 25 minutes, including an 8-for-9 performance from the foul line.
He added a game-high 10 rebounds.
And don’t get me started on veteran forward Phil Cofer, who hit five treys on the way to a 21-point performance.
Cofer scored 28 against Duke last season. If he could play against Duke all the time, he would be an All-American.
The final minutes? Tense doesn’t begin to describe it. Tre Jones fumbled a defensive rebound out of bounds and later missed the first end of a one-and-one. FSU drew a shooting foul with a second left on the shot clock. Reddish with another out-of-bounds fumble and then fouling the 3-point shooter.
Like I said, tense doesn’t begin to describe it.
But Duke got the final break, Barrett missing a free thrown that would have tied the game but FSU losing the rebound out of bounds, the original call correctly over-tuned in Duke’s favor after a lengthy review.
Three seconds left. Duke came out of the timeout, took a look at FSU’s defense and called another timeout.
“I’m looking and changing things. They’re three different things we were going to do after each. One before the time-out, one after and then one after that.”
Barrett says Reddish was the primary option.
“They came out with something, so we changed the play to get a better opportunity. Coach said that they were going to watch me and that Cam would be wide open.”
Leonard Hamilton said “I didn’t expect them to get the ball at the elbow. I thought we had that covered. I expected them to get the ball inbounds but not a direct pass out of bounds to a guy at the elbow. They did a very good job of creating some misdirection.”
Hamilton ended up with three guys guarding the lane, a fourth guarding the in-bounds pass and the fifth guarding Barrett in the corner.
Which left Reddish wide open for the dagger.
Nothing but net.
“In the second [half] we wanted to get him the ball,’ Krzyzewski said of Reddish. “I think they kind of fixated on RJ and made it possible for him to get open; then he knocked it down.”.
“I was working really hard to get back to who I was, trusting God praying every day and just trying to be who I was,” Reddish added. “That was a big shot for me and my teammates and coaches helped me with my confidence.”
Duke leaves Tallahassee battered and bruised but 3-0 in the ACC, 14-1 overall, two days until Syracuse comes to town, Williamson’s status for that game uncertain.
But for right now, a huge win for a young team with so much more room to grow and a huge game to grow on.
“We made one more play than they did,” Krzyzewski summed up. “Ultimate respect for Leonard and his kids. I think we earned it and if they would’ve won, they would have earned it. So, it’s not a game somebody lost, it’s a game that somebody won.”
Barrett ended with 32 points, his most since he scored 33 in the season-opener against Kentucky.
Reddish had 23, his fourth 20-plus game of the season and first since he scored 23 against Stetson, back on December 1.
And the duo was lights out from beyond the arc, Reddish 5-for-8, Barrett 4-for-7.
The rest of the team went 2-for-9 on threes.
Tre Jones was only 4-for-13 from the field but had six assists, five rebounds, three steals and only one turnover.
Florida State out-rebounded Duke 39-34, blocked seven shots to Duke’s three and shot nine more foul shots than Duke.
And still lost.
Unlike 2002, 2006 and 2011, Duke came back from Florida State with its No. 1 ranking intact.
Duke is 16-7 at FSU, 39-10 overall against the Seminoles and 234-36 as the top-ranked team in the AP poll.
- CAM BAM: Reddish’s game-winner lifts Duke men’s basketball to road win at Florida State
- Box Score (PDF)
- Season Stats (PDF)
- Postgame Notes (PDF)
- Cam Reddish’ 3-pointer lifts No. 1 Duke past No. 13 Florida State
- Zion Williamson exits with apparent eye injury
- No. 1 Duke tops No. 13 FSU basketball with last-second shot
- Zion Williamson misses entire second half in Duke’s last-second win over Florida State
- Duke vs. Florida State score: No. 1 Blue Devils survive Seminoles upset bid on clutch Cam Reddish 3-pointer
- Social media reacts to Florida State basketball’s last-second loss to top-ranked Duke
- WATCH: Duke Freshman Cam Reddish Buries Game-Winning Three vs. Florida State
- No. 13 Florida State’s upset spurned by No. 2 Duke buzzer beater
Player Of The Game vs. Florida State
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Alex O’ Connell
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