Thursday, February 23, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Duke 74, Florida State 66
By Mark Schlabach
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Here’s a quick look at No. 4 Duke’s 74-66 victory over No. 16 Florida State at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Thursday night:
Why it happened: The Blue Devils blistered Florida State’s vaunted perimeter defense from start to finish, making 13 of 28 3-pointers and hitting big shot after big shot. The Seminoles came into the game ranked No. 2 nationally in field-goal percentage defense (37 percent) and No. 14 in 3-point percentage defense (29.1 percent), but they were no match for Duke’s guards and forward Ryan Kelly. After FSU made its last run to cut Duke’s lead to 58-55 with 4:55 to go, Kelly and guard Seth Curry made 3-pointers on consecutive trips to make it 66-58.
Turning point: FSU had to feel a little bit confident after cutting Duke’s lead to 39-32 at the half. But then Blue Devils freshman Austin Rivers opened the second half by making 3-pointers on the first two possessions to make it 45-34. FSU was never able to contain all of the Blue Devils’ potent perimeter scorers.
Star of the game: Duke guard Andre Dawkins, a junior from Chesapeake, Va., scored 22 points on 6-for-12 shooting, his highest scoring total since he had 24 in the Blue Devils’ 73-66 victory at Clemson on Jan. 15. Dawkins, who played off the bench, made 4-of-6 3-pointers and scored nine consecutive points at one point in the first half.
Stat of the game: 7-0. Duke’s record in ACC road games this season, the first time the Blue Devils have won seven straight conference road games since 2005-06. Both of the Blue Devils’ ACC losses came at home: 76-73 against FSU on Jan. 21 and 78-74 in overtime against Miami on Feb. 5.
What it means for Duke: The Blue Devils remained in a tie with No. 7 North Carolina for first place in the ACC standings and remained in the hunt to win at least a share of their second ACC title in three seasons. Duke hosts Virginia Tech on Saturday and plays at Wake Forest on Tuesday night, before closing the regular season against the Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 3.
What it means for FSU: The Seminoles fell a game behind the Blue Devils and Tar Heels in the ACC standings, but remain in great shape for an NCAA at-large bid and a first-round bye in next month’s ACC tournament in Atlanta. FSU, which has a two-game lead over fourth-place Virginia in the ACC standings, plays at Miami on Sunday and at Virginia on Thursday night. The Seminoles host Clemson in their regular-season finale on March 4.