March 6, 2003
By DAVID DROSCHAK
AP Sports Writer
DURHAM, N.C. – The P.A. announcer at Cameron Indoor Stadium told Duke fans he would see them in New Orleans.
The 10th-ranked Blue Devils believe they still have a lot of work to do to even come close to the site of this year’s Final Four.
Shelden Williams had 12 points and season-high 17 rebounds and Duke forced 24 turnovers in a 72-56 victory over Florida State on Thursday night.
But coach Mike Krzyzewski was angry after the win by a second-half letdown and by a lack of emotion from the home fans, who he said have become spoiled by his program’s success.
“I’ve never seen Cameron like it was in the second half,” Krzyzewski said of the lack of emotion. “It’s indicative of the attitude that’s been surrounding our team all year long, you know, ‘We’re Duke and we should win instead of giving these kids (support).’
“We’ve won too much. This has been such a good year for us. We’re 21-5 and these kids have played their butts off and it’s like nobody knows – especially our fans.”
Captain Chris Duhon said the Blue Devils once again failed to close out a game in proper fashion.
“It’s one of those inner things, it’s like hunger or determination or a chip on our shoulder, something that we need to go out every night to prove,” he said. “Until we find that, it’s going to be tough for us.”
The Blue Devils (21-5, 11-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) rebounded from blowing a double-digit lead late in a weekend loss at St. John’s and avenged a defeat to the Seminoles a month ago in Tallahassee, Fla.
Dahntay Jones added 14 points for Duke in his last game in Cameron.
The Blue Devils, one of five teams in the Top 10 all season, moved one game behind ACC-leading Wake Forest with a game left this weekend at North Carolina. The ninth-ranked Demon Deacons play N.C. State on Saturday and can nail down its first outright regular-season title since 1962 with a victory in Raleigh.
Maryland is tied with Duke with a game left at Virginia on Sunday.
The Seminoles (13-14, 4-12) finished in sole possession of last place in the regular-season standings for the first time since joining the league in 1992. That lands Florida State in its third straight play-in game in the ACC tournament next week in Greensboro.
“Everybody predicted we would be in this position,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I feel we have been competitive and we think we’ve earned a certain measure of respect, but this is the position we’ve earned, we didn’t win enough games. You can’t take moral victories away from playing people close and playing well.”
Tim Pickett was coming off a career-high 32-point game against Virginia, but got off to a slow start before finishing with 11 points for the Seminoles. Mike Mathews led Florida State with a career-high 18 points, all in the second half.
Duke didn’t take long to gain control of its 28th straight home win, leading by as many as 23 in the opening half as the Seminoles had trouble establishing any offensive flow against Duke’s pressure defense.
It was in sharp contrast to Feb. 2 when Florida State shot 60 percent during a 75-70 defeat of the Blue Devils.
“They didn’t look like the same team we beat,” Pickett said. “They were more aggressive and we didn’t match their intensity. Their hands were everywhere and we didn’t finish our cuts.”
Florida State, last in the ACC in scoring at 68.7 points a game, had its worst first half of the season, failing to score on 24 of its first 27 possessions as the Blue Devils went up 28-7 less than 14 minutes in.
Williams was strong on the inside with 11 points and 11 rebounds in 16 first-half minutes. The freshman played just nine minutes in the first meeting with one point and no rebounds.
The Seminoles closed to 44-27 in the early stages of the second half, but Jones and Daniel Ewing scored on three-point plays and J.J. Redick added a driving layup to push the lead to 25 as Duke completed its 14th undefeated home season at Cameron.
Williams grabbed the most rebounds by a Duke player since Carlos Boozer had 16 against Wake Forest on March 9, 2002.