Duke broke open a close game with Florida State late in the first half, held off a mini-rally at the beginning of the second half and defeated the Seminoles 88-70 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils put six players in double figures in avenging an earlier loss to an undermanned Florida State team that was missing Naheem McCloud, Malik Osborne, Caleb Mills, RayQuan Evans and Anthony Polite.
But Leonard Hamilton is known for the quality of his bench and he still had enough firepower to keep the game close for 25 minutes or so.
“We were playing hard,” Mike Krzyzewski said, “we just thought we could win quicker and that wasn’t going to happen. They didn’t contribute to that. They said ‘no, you’re not going to win this way.’ Because they’re a hell of a program.”
Duke jumped to a 12-7 lead early and Cameron was rocking; the crowd was so loud that Mike Krzyzewski went out of his way to praise it.
But Leonard Hamilton is a pretty smart cookie and he called time out at just the right time. FSU came out of the timeout and scored on their next eight possessions, taking leads of 20-16, 22-18 and 24-21.
Duke was saved by senior wing Joey Baker, who came into the game having missed his last eight 3-pointers over a seven-game span.
Note the past tense.
Baker hit a 3 to put Duke up 27-24, another to put Duke up 30-28, another to put Duke up 45-39 and a fourth to make it 48-39.
Four three-pointers in a span of seven minutes.
“Joey saved us in the first half,” Mike Krzyzewski said.
Baker said he just trusted his work.
“It felt pretty good.”
Baker had help from A. J. Griffin, who scored 11 points in the final 11 minutes of the first half.
Duke led 52-41 at intermission, outscoring the visitors 25-13 down the stretch.
And they did this with Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams sitting out big chunks of the half in foul trouble.
After a 93-point opening half, it looked like no one would score in the second. Duke went over four minutes without a field goal coming out of the locker room and barely lost ground.
“Coming out of the second half, it was kind of sloppy both ways,” Wendell Moore, Jr. said. “But the thing I did love about it was we were getting stops at the other end even though we weren’t scoring. We were getting okay shots, we weren’t moving the ball but our defense really helped us out.”
Did it ever. FSU outscored Duke 3-1 in the first four minutes of the second half.
Krzyzewski said Duke thought it could turn over Florida State early but it was going about it the wrong way, trying for individual steals rather than concentrating on team defense and getting burned as a consequence.
That changed. Moore got a steal, converted at the other end, drew the foul and converted the foul shot.
“I did set that up a little bit,” Moore said. “I had to gather my feet a little bit. I was going a little bit too fast. I knew he [Harrison Prieto] was coming and I made an amazing finish.”
The three-point play put Duke up 56-44 and broke open the game. A few minutes later Trevor Keels converted a Moore steal into another transition basket and it was 65-49, then another Moore steal ended with a Banchero dunk and another Moore steal ended with another Banchero dunk and it was 72-52.
Duke had 12 points off turnovers in the second half, a key to the win according to Krzyzewski.
Moore ended with six steals to go along with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
And how about Keels, who notched a game-high eight assists, while scoring 13 points and drawing praise from Krzyzewski, who said Keels was all the way back from that leg injury that sidelined him earlier this month.
Keels said play-making has always been part of his arsenal but he’s stepping it up.
“I feel like it’s really showing now, watching film and seeing what my teammates are doing, trusting my teammates to make the shots.”
Banchero turned it on in the second half and ended with 17 points and eight rebounds. Williams had 10 points and six rebounds, Griffin 15 points, Baker a dozen. Duke outrebounded FSU 41-23 and had 25 assists on 32 made field goals.
Matthew Cleveland and Jalen Warley led the visitors with 16 and 15 points respectively.
Duke is 23-4 overall and 13-3 in the ACC. With Notre Dame (four ACC losses) and Miami (five) falling today, Duke is in control of its ACC fate, which technically is an oxymoron, because by definition fate can’t be controlled.
But you know what I mean.
And the players are aware that Duke hasn’t won an ACC regular-season title since 2010.
Moore said Duke was “100 percent aware of that” and that winning the regular-season was “the first of three goals.”
We all know what the other two are but Duke insists it’s concentrating on Wednesday’s rematch against Virginia, the first game of a three-game road trip and they’d better be because Tony Bennett has his team focused on a stretch run that they hope will put them on the right side of the NCAA bubble.
But for now a well-earned night of rest for a Duke team coming off a 2-0 week.
- Duke routs Florida State in Coach K’s penultimate game at Cameron Indoor
- 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
- Coach K returns, No. 9 Duke rolls past Florida State 88-70
- Florida State falls short at Duke: 3 Game-Changing Plays
- Duke gets Coach K back in win over FSU
- Florida State basketball coach Leonard Hamilton praises Dukes Mike Krzyzewski as ambassador
- Duke’s Coach K on his final game at Cameron
- Depleted Florida State men’s basketball shows fight but can’t keep up in road loss at No. 5 Duke
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- POSTGAME NOTES (PDF)
- COACH K QUOTES (PDF)
- DUKE PLAYER QUOTES (PDF)
- OPPONENT QUOTES (PDF)
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