Realistically, Florida State’s chances of beating Duke with so many injuries weren’t great but we have to say this: they didn’t go down easy. The ‘Noles fought hard and gave Duke everything they had. Then they ran out of gas and after that it was simply a matter of attrition as Duke won 88-70.
But they deserve a lot of respect for the character they showed. We’re not Florida State fans by any means but Leonard Hamilton couldn’t have asked more from his team and we hope he’s proud of them. As ACC fans, we were. They didn’t quit and they certainly could have.
Because the truth is that his system, which relies on shuttling long, athletic players in and out, needs a deep bench to work. And with Naheem McCloud, Caleb Mills, Malik Osborne, Anthony Polite and RayQuan Evans all out with injuries, he just can’t make it work.
Well, it did work for about 17 minutes. Florida State shot brilliantly in the first half and pushed Duke. It didn’t help that Mark Williams and Paolo Banchero both got in early foul trouble and sat for big chunks of the first half. Banchero only took one shot before the break.
But it was attrition in the second. Duke just had too much for FSU to stop. Banchero finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Williams had 10 points and five boards in 19 minutes. Wendell Moore finished with 16 points, five boards and seven assists, including one full-court pass that was breathtaking.
Speaking of Moore, can we just say this? The guy has hit the floor hard several times in the last three games. Not like falling down but like falling out of the air in ways that made the fans in Littlejohn and Cameron gasp with fear and concern.
And he just bounces back up and keeps going. We’re going to give this some thought, but Moore is, without question, one of the toughest kids Duke has ever had. We’re sure that Coach K is going to mention this and highlight it as an example for Moore’s teammates.
Joey Baker came off the bench and sparked Duke out of a close game with threes. He finished hitting 4-5.
As a team Duke hit 11-28 from deep, including a late one from fan favorite and Coach K’s grandson Michael Savarino.
As a bonus, Florida State’s Matthew Cleveland had one of the funniest airballs from the line you’ll ever see. It came up well short and even he laughed a bit at the absurdity of it.
Jim will be along soon with more from Cameron.
- Duke men’s basketball pulls away from Florida State in Coach K’s penultimate home game
- Five observations from Duke men’s basketball’s first half against Florida State
- With one last walk across the Cameron floor, the end of Coach K’s Duke tenure begins
- Duke basketball pulls away from Florida State in second half for win, series split
Player Of The Game vs. Florida State
This poll is closed