Feb. 29, 2004
By BRENT KALLESTAD
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Although the box score might not show it, Chris Duhon and Nick Horvath made the biggest difference for Duke.
Freshman Luol Deng scored 20 points and the fifth-ranked Blue Devils converted their last 12 free throws Sunday to beat Florida State 70-65 win and clinch at least a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s regular season title.
However, the 6-foot-10 Horvath came up with a key offensive rebound with 1:08 remaining, extending a Duke possession that was capped by Duhon’s driving layup with 44.1 seconds left that gave the Blue Devils a 64-58 lead.
“It gave us 32 seconds in a game that had only 68 seconds left,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “That’s a big rebound … a key to the game.”
Duhon also nailed a pair of critical 3-pointers, one in the first half as the time clock ran and the other that broke a 40-40 tie early in the second half.
Successive dunks by Shelden Williams midway through the second half gave Duke a 51-47 lead and the Blue Devils never looked back.
“They made a few more plays, some big plays,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.
The loss was damaging to the postseason hopes for the Seminoles (18-11, 6-9).
Florida State upset Duke at home in each of the past two seasons, but this time the Blue Devils kept a steady hand at critical times.
Duke (24-3, 12-2) has a two-game lead over North Carolina State with two games remaining for each team. The Wolfpack lost to North Carolina earlier in the day.
The Blue Devils made 24 of 29 free throw tries to offset a 39.2 percent shooting effort (20-for-51) from the field and just 6 of 25 from 3-point distance.
“We came out from the start knowing it was going to be a dogfight,” Williams said. “The shots weren’t going in for us and we had to drive in and try to get fouled and make free throws.”
Daniel Ewing added 15 points and Williams had 14 before fouling out with 3:06 left. Deng and Williams each had a game-high nine rebounds.
Duke leading scorer J.J. Redick was held to just one field goal and also missed a free throw, just his fourth miss of the season in 116 tries.
“It shows the other guys are capable of stepping up,” said Duhon, who made four straight free throws in the final two minutes and finished with 12 points.
Florida State used an 18-7 run midway through the half to take a 23-21 lead on Pickett’s second straight 3-pointer, a shot banked off the backboard.
Deng scored 14 of his points and had six rebounds to spark the Blue Devils to a 35-29 halftime lead.