Mike Krzyzewski’s 900th win at Duke was not pretty.
The No. 18 Blue Devils had a slow start and their worst shooting performance of the season, but second-chance opportunities and trips to the foul line carried Duke to a 78-56 victory over Florida State."A lot of that has to be said to the defense of Florida State," Krzyzewski said. "They protect the basket well, but with our driving we got them into foul trouble [and] got some second-chance points."
Despite missing the tipoff due to illness, redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood led the Blue Devils (16-4, 5-2 in the ACC) with 18 points and nine rebounds. Freshman Jabari Parker also shined Saturday, putting up 14 points and grabbing a team-best 14 rebounds, ten of which came on offense. The game was Parker's sixth double-double of the season.
Redshirt senior Andre Dawkins, who replaced Hood in the starting lineup at the last minute, pitched in 11 points after going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, and redshirt sophomore Marshall Plumlee contributed seven points and seven offensive boards.
"I'm proud of my guys, we beat a really good team," Krzyzewski said. "Our bench really came through."
As a unit, the Blue Devils went 18-of-59 from the field to shoot 30.5 percent, the team's worst shooting performance of the season. Duke's loss against Clemson was the only other time the Blue Devils shot below 40 percent. The majority of Parker and Hood's points came from the free-throw line, where the team as a whole went 34-of-43.
"The shooting wasn’t there, but we also got them in foul trouble," Parker said. "We got a lot of our points on the free throw line, and that was good for us."
Duke also made up for its poor shooting by grabbing 27 offensive rebounds and forcing 17 Seminole turnovers. The Blue Devils benefitted on the boards from the reduced playing time of Florida State's Bojanovsky, as the 7-foot-3 center picked up his fourth foul early in the second half.
Florida State (13-6, 4-3) relied on sophomore Devon Bookert and senior Okaro White to keep the team in the game, and the pair finished with 12 and 14 points, respectively.
The Blue Devils started the game slowly, and found themselves clinging to a 23-16 lead through 13 minutes of play. Aside from the two 3-pointers Dawkins hit to start the game, nothing seemed to be falling for Duke, and long rebounds had allowed the Seminoles to score in transition with ease.
“[In the] first half I didn’t really come out aggressive in terms of finishing,” Hood said. "Our offense hurt our defense. They got in transition and there were a lot of loose balls we could have got."
But Duke pulled away in the last seven minutes of the half, using an energizing run to grab momentum as well as build its lead. Plumlee's put-back dunk on a missed shot got both the coaches and crowd on their feet, and his offensive rebound and assist to Cook for a deep three on the next possession made the stadium erupt in earnest for the first time of the afternoon.
A steal just seconds later gave Duke back the ball, and Parker's slam dunk finish in heavy traffic on the ensuing possession gave the Blue Devils firm control of the game's momentum.
After leading by seven with seven minutes left in the half, Blue Devils took an 18-point lead into halftime and then never allowed Florida State to get within 11 points again for the rest of the game. When the Seminoles did shrink the lead, Duke responded with a 13-2 run to close out the game.
"We didn’t let them get to us," Parker said. "We knew games were all about runs so it was our time to make a run and finish the game."
In matching white sneakers for Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend, Duke's coaching staff was visibly frustrated with the Blue Devils play at points in the first half. Krzyzewski threw his hands up in disgust after a transition foul by Dawkins did nothing but give the Seminoles a shot at the foul line, and the heated head coach removed his sports coat midway through the first half. Minutes later, a good portion of Cameron Indoor Stadium heard what Krzyzewski yelled to his players after the Seminoles regained possession of a loose ball.
"He’s always like that," Cook said. "He’s fired up. He wants the best for his team and he was coaching his butt off. I think the guys respond to it."
Krzyzewski got the result he wanted in the end, claiming his 900th win as Duke's head coach and guiding his team to its 28th straight home victory.
"It's a lot of wins—I thank Duke for keeping me," Krzyzewski said. "We have a good thing going here, and I've been blessed to be here for over three decades."