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Duke's perimeter defense was porous once again versus Florida State.

Beyond the arc: Should Duke fans be concerned about its perimeter defense?



In its first conference home game of the year, Duke was able to come away from Cameron Indoor Stadium with a 100-93 win against No. 24 Florida State. 

The Blue Zone gives three key takeaways and stats and looks forward for the Blue Devils:

Three key takeaways:

1. Marvin Bagley III is unreal 

Is Bagley even human? He had what Grayson Allen called the "quietest" 30-and-20 game he has ever seen, scoring 32 points and grabbing an astounding 21 boards. After playing 13 full games, Bagley has 11 double doubles, tying Jahlil Okafor for the fourth-most ever by a Blue Devil freshman. 

He needs to record just four more to pass Jabari Parker and Gene Banks for the most ever by a freshman and would break the all-time program record for double-doubles if he reached 25 on the season. His elite play has been able to make up for some of a young team's flaws—very important going into the meat of the ACC schedule. 

2. Duke struggles again at the perimeter—both defending and shooting

The Blue Devils shot exactly as bad as they did against Boston College—finishing 8-for-30—and yielded the same 15 3-pointers on the other end. If Florida State was as efficient as the Eagles were, this could have been a Seminoles' win. Once again, Duke's perimeter defense as it is simply will not cut it if it wants to win the ACC regular-season crown. A young team will have to find a defensive identity, whether that be a strong zone or man-to-man defense, in order to keep up in the long run. 

3. Florida State could be a surprise ACC contender

After Saturday's game, the Seminoles look like they could find themselves fighting for the ACC title as the season comes to a close. They throttled then-No. 5 Florida in Gainesville by nearly 20 points and had just one loss before Saturday—a one-point loss to Oklahoma State, which ranks No. 49 in basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy's efficiency rankings. 

Even with a subpar performance from its leading scorer, Terance Mann, the Seminoles flashed a strong offense that could make them a contender. Florida State just has to make through a rough early slate—it quickly moves on to play No. 13 North Carolina Jan. 3 and then goes on the road to take on No. 15 Miami Jan. 7. 

Three key stats: 

1. 53-35 Blue Devil edge on the glass

Duke used its size to its advantage, racking up 53 rebounds, including an astounding 23 on the offensive glass to the Seminoles' nine. Wendell Carter Jr. and Bagley combined for 37 of the rebounds, while Gary Trent Jr. chipped in with seven. 

2. 14-0 run in 90 seconds

The Blue Devils had fallen behind by eight early in the second half, but exploded on a 14-0 run to pick themselves up off the mat. Allen, Bagley and Trent all chipped in 3-pointers to spark the run. 

3. Four starters with four fouls

The Blue Devils won despite being plagued by foul trouble. All of Duke's starters, save for Allen, picked up four fouls, leaving a dicey end of the game. 

Looking forward: 

Duke desperately needed to win this game to avoid being in an 0-2 hole to start conference play, and it did so—by a thread. Certainly, a lot of things could have gone better for the Blue Devils, especially on defense. Allowing 93 points isn't going to win them many conference games. But with a team this young, there is plenty of time for it to develop a perimeter defense. If Duke can do it, no one in the ACC will be able to stop it. 


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