No. 9 Florida State dominated No. 7 Duke 88-72 Tuesday night to remain unbeaten in ACC play and run its winning streak to 12 games. The Seminoles took the lead for good in the middle of a 10-0 run early in the second half and pulled away down the stretch for the easy win.
Revisiting the three keys to the game:
- Force the ball out of Dwayne Bacon’s hands: The Blue Devils successfully limited Florida State’s star sophomore to just 13 points, well below his season average of 18.1, and Bacon was responsible for seven turnovers. But Bacon had a career-high five assists, and still served as one of the catalysts for the Seminoles’ high-scoring offense.
- Strong defense from Jayson Tatum: In 38 minutes of play, Tatum grabbed just four rebounds and had only one steal on the defensive end. The 6-foot-8 freshman was not a liability but certainly was not enough of a defensive presence to make up for graduate student Amile Jefferson’s absence on the interior.
- Continue to pound the paint: Although the Blue Devils scored 28 points in the paint, the impact of Jefferson's absence was apparent. The big man trio of Harry Giles, Chase Jeter and Marques Bolden combined for only six points and eight rebounds.
Three key stats:
- Florida State outscores Duke 56-28 in the paint: Without Jefferson, the Blue Devils lacked answers to the Seminoles in the paint. Duke’s weakness inside allowed Florida State to generate 3-point opportunities as well when the Blue Devils switched to a zone defense for a short period in the first half and perimeter defenders were forced to help in the paint, leaving shooters open around the arc.
- The Seminoles outrebound the Blue Devils 38-30: Another place where Jefferson’s absence was felt was on the boards. The Blue Devils were outrebounded 24-20 on the defensive end and 14-10 on the offensive end. Florida State also generated 19 second-chance points while holding Duke to just seven such points.
- Duke leads for only 3:05: Although the Blue Devils kept it close for most of the contest and even took the lead midway through the first half and with 15:03 left in the second, the Seminoles controlled the game. Following a Luke Kennard jumper to take 50-48 lead, Florida State outscored Duke 40-22 the rest of the way to coast to a comfortable victory.
Three key plays:
- 6:06 remaining, first half: Bacon stole the ball from junior Grayson Allen and quickly got it to sophomore sharpshooter PJ Savoy, who buried his second triple in less than a minute in transition to cap an 10-0 run and put the Seminoles on top 30-23. Savoy did not score the rest of the game, but his presence as a shooter snapped Florida State out of an offensive funk and forced the Blue Devils to abandon their zone defense.
- 14:46 remaining, second half: Matt Jones got a steal and passed the ball up the floor to Tatum, who looked set to draw a foul or attack the basket for an uncontested dunk. But the freshman was called for a travel as he turned up the court before he took a dribble, and the Seminoles scored the next 10 points of the game to take control.
- 4:14 remaining, second half: Florida State's Xavier Rathan-Mayes shut the door on any hope Duke had of making a comeback with a deep 3-pointer to put the Seminoles in front by 14 and allow their home crowd to start celebrating their biggest victory of the season.
And the Duke game ball goes to.... Luke Kennard
The 6-foot-6 sophomore led the Blue Devils with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field and a 5-of-6 night from the free-throw line. Kennard was also the only Blue Devil to play all 40 minutes and added three rebounds, two assists and a steal in a well-rounded performance.
And the Florida State game ball goes to.... Xavier Rathan-Mayes
The junior guard scored 18 of his team-leading 21 points in the second half to help seal the Seminoles’ victory. Rathan-Mayes shot 2-of-4 from deep and tacked on two rebounds and three assists, including an impressive lob to Jonathan Isaac for an alley-oop with 10:05 remaining in the game.