Many thought the huge frontline of Florida State would give the Blue Devils some trouble. It made sense, for the majority of the season Duke has struggled to defend the rim and guard in the paint. But the Blue Devils played like the bigger team on Saturday. Duke out rebounded Florida State 47-24, including 27 offensive rebounds. The Blue Devils never found their shot, shooting just 30.5% on the day, but you didn't notice because they scored 29 second chance points.
Duke didn't just dominate in the post, they played defense on the perimeter well too, forcing the Seminoles into 17 turnovers, 10 on Duke steals, which led to 29 more points for the Blue Devils.
It wasn't a classic Duke performance, but it was an inspired one. Andre Dawkins, who was a late addition as a starter, opened the game with 2 three pointers, but Duke missed 13 of their next 15 shots to allow Florida State to remain close. Duke was able to go on an 11-0 run behind a couple highlight plays from Jabari Parker and Marshall Plumlee and went into the half with a 43-25 lead.
The shooting remained cold in the second half. Florida State went on a 8-0 run midway through the second half to close the lead to 65-54, but Duke answered with an 8-0 run of their own to put the game away.
The game was a little tense at times in the second half. Florida State was whistled for 3 flagrant fouls. The Seminoles clearly became frustrated with Duke's dominance on the boards and on the defensive end.
The win was Mike Krzyzewski's 900th at Duke. He joins Jim Boeheim as the only two coaches with 900 or more wins at one school. It was Coach K's 973rd win overall.
Duke continued to benefit from Jabari Parker's aggressive play. The freshman had his second double-double in a row, scoring 14 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Rodney Hood and Rasheed Sulaimon also found success taking the ball to the rim. Hood scored 9 of his 18 points at the free throw line, while Sulaimon scored 8 of his 11 from the line. Duke made 34 of 43 free throws as a team.
Duke has won 4 games in a row after the loss at Clemson, and they've all been impressive in their own way. Duke seems to have found a defensive identity. Their ball pressure has been great over the last few games and have found a way to overcome their lack of size to win the rebounding battles. Duke found a new source of production today from reserve big man Marshall Plumlee. Plumlee played an efficient 12 minutes, scoring 7 points and hauling in 7 rebounds while provided a defensive presence around the rim.
Matt Jones started for the fourth straight game, however he only played 6 minutes, as Sulaimon proved to be a more favorable matchup against Florida State. Coach K continued to use the team's depth to their advantage. 11 guys played for Duke. 8 players logged at least 10 minutes, Josh Hairston was close behind with 8 minutes of action. Fresh legs will be very valuable headed into the last leg of the season. Coach has said the line change lineups would probably be phased out, but he expected to continue to let a lot of guys play.
Duke improved to 16-4 overall and 5-2 in the ACC. They should move into the top 15 of the rankings as they get ready for a game Monday at No. 20 Pittsburgh.