|ESPN.com: Dick Vitale||[Print without images]|
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said his team has found ways to win games in different ways this season. They have that mentality that they find a way to get the job done. On Thursday night in Tallahassee, the trifecta was the big key.
The Blue Devils hit 13 of them, shooting 13-of-28. Florida State hit four-of-15 from long distance. My friends, you don't have to go to Harvard to realize it is tough to make up 27 points, the difference in three-pointers made by Duke!
Andre Dawkins was on fire, making six-of-nine from beyond the arc, finishing with 22 big points off the bench. There have been too many games where he has put up sub-par shooting numbers this season, but he came through big-time against an outstanding defensive team in the Seminoles.
Florida State was looking for a season sweep and its first stretch of three consecutive wins in the series.
If you are going to beat Duke, you have to limit the trifecta, and Florida State obviously could not do that. Austin Rivers chipped in with four trifectas of his own.
I love the way that Rivers has matured. I really feel he put a lot of pressure on himself at the start of the season. He came in with such high expectations, and now he is letting things settle down and playing with a calmer approach.
The win at Tallahassee simply boosted an already solid resume. I have heard arguments about whether Duke should be in the hunt for a number one seed. Are you serious? Look at what Coach K's team has accomplished.
Duke has wins over North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Michigan State and Kansas on neutral courts, plus Florida State on Thursday on the road. Then add victories over the likes of Colorado State, Belmont and Davidson, to name a few.
Remember, this is a Blue Devil team that doesn't have an All-American in the lineup. You look at what they have had over the years, from Johnny Dawkins, Danny Ferry, Jason Williams, Grant Hill, Christian Laettner and on and on. That is why it is hard to compare different teams.
I am sure Coach K is proud of what this team has done so far. He should have been thrilled with the performance on Thursday, getting a measure of revenge for an earlier loss on a buzzer-beater by Michael Snaer at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
There are a few games left before the ACC tournament, and then the big dance. Duke keeps finding ways to win, and if the three-pointer keeps falling, this will be a difficult team to beat come the postseason. They are battle-tested and have won so many close games.