Feb. 23, 2012
The 74-66 setback to the Blue Devils was Florida State’s first defeat at the Donald L. Tucker Center in ACC play this season and just the second overall.
Bernard James tied his career high with five blocks in the loss.
The Blue Devils made 13 3-pointers on 28 shots — a mark good enough for 46 percent from that distance.
FSU scord 34 points in the paint to Duke’s 14 but outside shooting proved to be the key.
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Senior Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State killed Duke with a 3-pointer in the first meeting but in Thursday’s highly anticipated rematch, the No. 4/5 Blue Devils lived by the triple in a 74-66 win.
With first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference and a guaranteed first-round bye in the league tournament on the line, Duke shot 46 percent from 3-point range, including a 50-percent mark on 6-of-12 shots in the second half.
Despite Duke’s (24-4, 11-2 ACC) brilliance from beyond the arc, No. 16/15 FSU (19-8, 10-3) rode the wave of its sell-out crowd and found itself down just three points on two separate occasions with less than five minutes left to play.
But in both instances, the Blue Devils benefitted from timely long-range shots — the first from Ryan Kelly to push FSU’s deficit to 61-55 and then again shortly thereafter when Seth Curry buried a 3-pointer following Bernard James’ and-one opportunity.
The ‘Noles would never get closer than a 66-61 score with 2:40 left to play.
“When you go from three to six that gives you three two-point possessions,” Duke coach Mike Kryzewski said. “Just huge shots. We hit free throws down the stretch and didn’t turn the ball over and [FSU] played hard and put themselves in position to win. We made a couple plays and we won. I thought both teams played really winning basketball today. I have so much respect before and after the game for their team and their coaching staff.
“[The Seminoles] are legitimate one of the top teams in the country and the crowd was great.”
Snaer was the hero in that first game when his buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave FSU the come-from-behind win at Cameron Indoor.
Thursday, he led the Seminoles in scoring with 18 points despite playing just 10 minutes in the first half because of two early fouls. The first period saw James score just four points but he got stronger as the game progressed and finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and career-high-tying five blocks.
Okaro White was 5-for-6 from the free-throw line as he added nine points for a ‘Noles team that shot 40 percent for the game while committing a season-low eight turnovers. The ‘Noles also outscored Duke 34-14 in the paint.
But FSU was just 27 percent from 3-point range after hitting just two of its 12 attempts from that distance in the second half. And when Duke is making all of its shots from that same distance, few teams can hang around much longer than the Seminoles did Thursday night.
“We allowed them to do what they do best, which is hit 3s,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.
Nobody did that better than Andre Dawkins, who hit six of his nine 3-point shots for a game- and career-high 22 points for the Blue Devils. With his NBA-coach father in attendance, Doc Rivers, Winter Park native Austin Rivers scored 20 points and Kelly added 13. Mile Plumlee posted 10 points before fouling out.
Duke led 39-32 at the half after James’ dunk capped off FSU’s 6-0 run before the opening frame expired.
The loss was just the second of the year and the first in ACC play for the Seminoles, who must now travel to play at Miami Sunday before a trip to Virginia a few days later. The ‘Noles then close out the 2011-12 regular season with a home match against Clemson on March 4.
“We lost one game, and we have three more to go,” Hamilton said. “I don’t think many people expected us to be here in the first place.”