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Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball comes out on top in defensive battle against Florida State

Goldwire matched his career high with 13 points Monday night
Goldwire matched his career high with 13 points Monday night

The smell of the North Carolina victory is still in the air. But instead of another day of celebration, the Blue Devils and Cameron Crazies found themselves in a rare Monday night showdown against No. 8 Florida State. With more efficient shooting and a slight edge on the boards, Duke managed to defend its home floor 70-65 in a very defensive game. The Blue Zone gives you three key takeaways, stats and looks forward for the Blue Devils:                              

Three key takeaways:

Gold shines bright

Jordan Goldwire was the X-Factor that brought Duke the victory Monday night. In addition to his regular defensive contribution, the junior guard put up a team-high 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting including three makes from beyond the arc.

With the game tied at 36 early in the second half, Goldwire hit back-to-back treys to keep the Blue Devils ahead. With just over two minutes left in the game and the shot clock winding down, he received a bailout pass from Wendell Moore Jr., managing to fight through the lane and float the ball into the basket against two defenders towered over him to put Duke back up by three. 

Overall, Goldwire's clutch play secured the game for the Blue Devils. If the Georgia native can continue that kind of offensive production for the foreseeable future, the rest of the ACC, as well as the country, should be worried.

Matthew Hurt clinches the win

Matthew Hurt sealed the game for Duke with a ferocious offensive rebound and four nothing-but-net free throws in the final 15 seconds of the game. Despite struggling in his first rivalry game against North Carolina Saturday and playing only 18 minutes off the bench against the Seminoles, the Rochester, Minn., native demonstrated his worth on both ends of the floor. He had himself a memorable sequence in the first half, knocking down a step-back triple and immediately following the shot up with a big block on the other end.

Turnovers may be a source of hidden danger

Even though Florida State wasn't able to escape Cameron Indoor Stadium with a win, its aggressive defense and superb athleticism did prove troublesome for the Blue Devils. The Seminoles had an astonishing 16 steals, forcing Duke to commit a total of 21 turnovers. A lot of those turnovers came when the Blue Devils tried to kick the ball out to the perimeter after a failed drive to the paint. Duke needs to be more cautious with its inbounding plays and passing decisions, especially against teams that are long and mobile. Monday night could've been a lot different if Goldwire and Hurt didn’t stretch the floor with five 3-pointers between them.

Three key stats:

Four players scoring in double-digits

Four Blue Devils registered 10 or more points against the Seminoles, the 14th time this season that Duke has been able to get double-digit production from at least four players. This team surely doesn’t have the individual talent of Marvin Bagley III or Zion Williamson’s caliber, but the depth of the team ensures that multiple players can get it going on any night.

37.9%, 16.7%, 60.0% vs. 45.7%, 35.8%, 76.9%

The first set of numbers represent Florida State's percentages from the field, the perimeter and the charity stripe, respectively, Monday night, while the second set is the team's season average in each respective category. The Seminoles struggled to get decent looks throughout the evening, and it seemed like the Tar Heels' poor shooting from the free throw line infected them as well. 

Eleven consecutive victories after playing North Carolina

Nothing uplifts the Blue Devils more than an epic win against the neighbor at Chapel Hill. Duke carried its morale and intensity from Saturday’s “Chapel-Thrill”, and even a top-10 Florida State team wasn’t enough to stop the Blue Devils' double-digit winning streak following a game against the Tar Heels.

Looking forward:

Duke will stay at home to host Notre Dame this Saturday. The Fighting Irish are currently on a four-game winning streak, while their losses to Florida State and Louisville were by a total of only four points. The Blue Devils will have to stay alert and avoid a slow start if they want to come away with another win.


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