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After losing a very winnable game to Wake Forest and having to stew for 10 days the Blue Devils finally got to take out some aggressions against Florida State. The Seminoles came in winning 3 of their last 4 games and looking to improve their standing in the ACC. Neither team lit it up from the field in the early part of the first half but the insertion of Ryan Young who accounted for 12 points in the first half and Jaylen Blakes who scored 11. The Blue Devils ended the first half on a 15 to 7 run to build a 17 point lead.

Florida State came out of the second half on fire going on a 10-5 run to shrink the Duke lead to 12. The Blue Devils were able to respond by going 5-8 from 3 in the second half and scoring 10 points off of turnovers.

The Blue Devils rode a perfect game from Ryan Young, who scored 20 points to lead Duke on 7-7 from the field and 6-6 from the free throw line. Young also added 12 rebounds. Jaylen Blakes scored 17 on 4-6 shooting from beyond the arc, adding 3 assists. The Blue Devils also got double-digit performance from Dariq Whitehead who scores 16 on 5-11 shooting.

Posting one of their better shooting games of the year, the Blue Devils shot 50.9% from the field and 44% from beyond the arc. The Blue Devils also out-rebounded the Seminoles 32 to 24. Duke scored 19 points off of 13 FSU turnovers and notched a 13-5 advantage in second chance points.

The Bad

  • The Blue Devils could not get their normal shotmakers going although the bottom line did not suffer for it with Duke scoring 86 points

The Good

  • Duke returned to their rebounding ways out-rebounding the Seminoles 32-24
  • Duke took good 3-point shots going 11-25 for 44%


Opening Statement: 

“Happy New Year, everyone. It was a good win for us, really proud of the response we had. We played one game in 20 days, we felt like, all right, here’s another new season for us and fully healthy, thought really everybody that played stepped up and made some big time plays in key moments. We had a few lineups on the court, we just had a roll and went with it, but I thought our defense was back to where we needed to be. Offensively we really shared the ball well. Ryan Young obviously a big-time night, not missing a field goal, not missing a free throw. Just his rebounding, you feel like when a shot’s taken he’s going to come up with the ball. Happy to answer anything but really proud of this, and for me, I started here in 2006 and Florida State’s been one of the teams we’ve had incredible battles with. So much respect for Coach Ham [Florida State Coach Leonard Hamilton] and what he’s done, and to be in this situation coaching against him and a great program like Florida State is an honor for me and obviously for our program.” 


On the success from playing with a smaller lineup: 

“It’s really just a feel, and we have a plan going into the game, but certain guys, one were in foul trouble, but certain guys had it going, and I thought that Dariq [Whitehead] had some really good minutes and that lineup once we had it; Jake [Jacob Grandison] came off the bench, and we just went on a run so we kept that group in and to extend the lead to 17 and a half was a big deal.” 

On Jaylen Blakes’ performance going forward: 

“Well, I think for us as we go on in the season we may start different groups, and tonight this was, we felt, the best thing. Jaylen [Blakes], his energy, his confidence, and his defense has been rock solid for us and made that switch and credit to him to make the best of that opportunity. So really proud of what he’s done, you know he’s coming off a year where he didn’t play, he’s been in different environments, and he’s just grown and is as hard any worker that we have. He studies gameplans like you wouldn’t believe, and just proud and happy for him. Can’t be a one-time thing, need to continue to build, but knowing him he’ll be back to work right away.” 

On the team coming back motivated from the break: 

“I give them credit. They knew we had to be a lot better, and so it wasn’t like I had to convince them of that. Really it was…I don’t want to say starting from scratch, because it’s not like we have to blow this whole thing up or anything. We’ve had a good start to the year, but it’s a fresh start and when you have that much time off in between games it’s hard to keep the same rhythm, it just is. So for us, we went and got back to work, four really good days of preparation. Our guys embraced it, they worked really hard, we got back into the shape that we needed to. For us, going against each other has gotten us better. That’s something that not a lot of teams have, where we can put 10 guys out on the floor that can go at it in practice. We need to balance that and to not do it too much to where we get banged up but we did that this week and it really benefitted us.” 

On Dariq Whitehead’s performance: 

“For me when I was looking at Dariq, one, I think that sometimes getting away and clearing your head and coming back can be a good thing. You know we’ve seen that over the years for Christmas break and just like I said for the team that it was a fresh start, I feel the same way for Dariq. Take what you’ve learned and to his credit, I thought he had his best two days of practices. I’ve always believed that preparation leads to confidence, and that’s why I said I have a lot of confidence in you. You practice this way, I’m excited to see where it goes. He did a really good job tonight. You can tell he gives us a different dimension and we need to follow that up with consistency and building in practice but give him credit. Look, this is…for any of our guys, it’s never smooth sailing. It just isn’t, and so for Dariq I think he’s gotten a lot tougher in this stretch. He’s not the only one I can go through. Any of our guys, any of our freshman have gone through ups and downs already. Any freshman who’s ever come through here has gone through that, and they’re going to be better for it. Just fighting out is the only way to do it and that’s what Dariq is starting to do, and I’m really proud of him for it.” 


“We knew that there was going to be an opportunity today with some mismatches in the post where [Florida State was] going to have a smaller guard switched onto me or whoever gets the ball – Flip [Kyle Filipowski] or Dereck [Lively II]. We knew that they would probably be either sending a double team or crowding the paint up so we were going to be able to pass out of there. And that’s a real positive and an advantage I think our bigs can bring – myself, Flip’s a really good passer, and Dereck’s a really good passer out of the post. That’s something that really, I think, can hurt teams, when we throw the ball in and it’s not just a one-on-one game there. All five guys are in the play, with the passing ability that we have out of the post. It’s something that I take a lot of pride in personally, and I know that Flip and Dereck do as well because they’re just as good of passers. It makes us hard to guard as a group.” 

On the chemistry between him and Jacob Grandison: 

“You could say it’s old man chemistry, with us being 23 and 24 [years old] on this team. When you get that many buckets – I had a few in the paint in a row there toward the end of the first half – and Jake’s so good at moving off the ball. When he passes, he’s immediately moving and it makes it really easy for me in the post. Catch the ball, right back to him, and he’s wide open, especially when you have that kind of attraction – when you score a few in the paint, you know that there’s going to be some emphasis on you and their guards are going to be creeping in. So I kicked it out [to him] and he doesn’t miss many open threes. It’s a good bet.” 


On being a leader on this year’s team: 

“Going into this year, knowing that I was one of the four returners, with Jeremy [Roach], Spencer [Hubbard], and Stanley [Borden], just having that emphasis of what people taught me the year before, just continuing to pass down that tradition and culture of what Duke Basketball is and what it’s about and continue to teach everybody that’s new, the 11 new guys that we have, and continue to build. I’m just doing whatever’s necessary to win. The best way that I can lead is by example, so just putting everything out there on the line, and everybody else is doing the exact same. That’s what Duke Basketball is about. We’re going to compete to the very end. We’re not going to let someone come into Cameron [Indoor Stadium] and out-compete us. So we’re just competing every second that we’re on the court.” 

On his own performance today: 

“My teammates did a great job of finding me in open spaces. Even the drives, the bigs really sealed off the guards and when [Florida State] switched, it kind of opened up the paint. Just taking what the defense gives you, at the end of the day, and playing off of that. It’s never been an emphasis [on offense, from the coaches]. More the emphasis is on the defense and just continuing to stop other people, keep people out of the paint. Offensively, we’re going to take what they give because we have so many weapons. It could be anyone’s day. It happened to be that I scored and Ryan [Young] scored, and we had a lot of people score.” 


Opening Statement: 

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to [Jon] Scheyer, getting these guys to play the Duke way. I don’t see very much difference in how they played in the past to now, and I attribute it to him. His ability to relate to his guys to get them playing hard, moving the ball, and playing unselfish. I was very impressed with them. It was so aggressive, I thought it unsettled our kids in the first half. Normally you take advantage of the floor being open that wide, but we’re a new version of who we are. I think you guys have seen us come in here before. We’re not the same team, but I’m not really sure that would have mattered with the way I thought they played today. I’m especially impressed with [Ryan] Young and his ability, his girth, and his experience. I thought he displayed some maturity out there that will allow them to play off him a lot, especially with him coming off the bench. As far as we’re concerned, this is probably one of the most inexperienced teams we’ve had. Duke always has a lot of inexperienced guys coming in and play at a great level. Hopefully we can learn from this. Learn what is takes to go out there and play as a team, as extremely aggressive as they were, and grow from it. We will go out and see if we can win our fair share of the remaining games in the league.” 


On the biggest difference in his team: 

“For me when I look down and I see that we played one guy for 38 minutes, one for 37, and one for 35, that’s not who we have been in the past. We normally play 10 guys in the first 11 minutes. I thought there were times when we were just fatigued, and we couldn’t maintain the level of intensity that it takes to beat the players of a really good Duke team. That’s who we are. I’m not really sure I have ever played three or four guys for 30 minutes in any game, that’s not how we built our program. This is who we are now so I’m asking our experienced second-year players to go out and extend themselves to a level that we haven’t asked players in the past to do. That was a major difference for me. It manifests itself when moving to get open, sprinting down the court, contesting shots, and containing the dribble. When fatigue sets in, I thought we had a lot that going on, guys just kind of getting to the other end of the floor without the level of intensity that we’ve been accustomed to playing with. I’m not making any excuses, that’s who we are. We have to find a way to be successful with who we are.” 


On Matthew Cleveland: 

“Obviously he has a high basketball IQ. I think when we lost Cam’ron Fletcher that it motivated him to step up his game even more. He’s an extremely competitive youngster and I think that he realizes that we need more of him to make up for not having [Jaylan] Gainey, not having Fletcher, and still not having [Baba] Miller. He is upping his game, but that is what competitors do; they find ways to do the very best they can in all areas for the team. He has become more of a vocal leader and definitely leads by example on an off the court. He’s a good student. He’s always got positive things to say in our team meetings. He’s aware of everything we have in our game plan. He’s just displaying some leadership from that standpoint. He’s only starting to round his game out so we think there’s a lot more room for growth and his attitude will allow him to get there.” 

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