Florida State is one of those teams that I always sort of cringe when Duke plays. Leonard Hamilton seems to be one of the few coaches that has Coach K’s number, beating him 6 times in 11 years. Today would not be a Hamilton and Florida State success story, as Duke would dispatch the Seminoles by a score of 78-56.
Duke in the first half put this game away on the strength of 2 runs, one about midway through the first half and the other to close out the half. Duke would not shoot the ball very well, but dominated in other categories, some surprising ones for Duke fans and followers. Duke ruled the 3 -point line with a 5:1 ratio in made shots and the free throw line as well, making 14-of-16 to 4-of-11 for Florida State.
The stat that, along with the free throw disparity, really gave Duke the fuel it needed was rebounding. Duke would enjoy a 23-t0-14 advantage in the first half and end the game with a 47-24 advantage—a real head-scratcher if you’ve followed Duke all year long. Those rebounds, 27 of them offensive, let to a 29-to-10 margin in Duke’s favor from second chance points.
Duke got a fairly balanced scoring sheet in this game with Rodney Hood, who would not start the game due to illness, scoring 18 for Duke on 4-12 shooting and 9 for 11 from the charity stripe. Hood would also add 9 boards and 2 assists. Jabari Parker would also not shoot a great percentage (3-14) but found other ways to get his points (14) and to make his mark on the game. Parker scored 8 of those points coming off of 9 free throw attempts. Parker also led Duke in rebounding with 14, 10 of which were offensive. Duke would also get double figure scoring from Andre Dawkins with 11, and Rasheed Sulaimon with 11 as well. Offensively, the percentages were low, but when you toss in the recycled possessions it was enough for Duke to win comfortably in Cameron.
Duke fans were giddy after the performance put on by center Marshall Plumlee, who played 12 minutes for Duke, scored 7 points, and had 7 rebounds. Plumlee’s numbers coupled with sophomore Amile Jefferson’s would give Duke 9 points and 13 rebounds from the center position, nearly a double-double. I think Coach K will take those numbers any day of the week.
So how does Duke shoot nearly 20% less than its opponents and still win the game by 22? Rebounding to an advantage of 23, a points off turnover edge of 29 to 11, an advantage in second chance points of 29 to 10, 34 made free throws to 10 and an advantage from beyond the arc of 24 points to 6.
Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
“I have so much respect for Leonard [Hamilton] and his program. I think they’re one of the best programs in the country. What he’s done at Florida State, their kids played hard. Both teams play such good defense. You can tell by the assists and turnovers. We both didn’t have more assists than turnovers today, and it was tough to score, and the biggest stat was our offensive rebounding. Our guys were just so hungry. We had 27 offensive rebounds. I can’t remember that ever happening. That also means we were not very good on offense. When the teacher says, “you did that well, but you know you can improve a lot on something.” I think a lot of that has to be said of the defense of Florida State. Jabari [Parker] was incredible on the boards in these last two games. To get 15 and 14 rebounds is sensational, and I’m proud of my guys. We played a really good team. Our bench came through. Rodney [Hood] got sick at the start of the game, and Andre [Dawkins] came in and hit two threes. I thought Marshall [Plumlee] played another outstanding game. Tyler [Thornton]– we didn’t know if he was going to play today, he’s had the flu – he said he could give it a try, he didn’t practice yesterday, and he played well. Our bench did a good job, a really good job. Rasheed [Sulaimon], obviously, can really penetrate and got us to the line – he handles the ball so well in those situations. We have a quick turnaround now before we go to Pitt. These six days, two on the road and one at home against really big, physical teams, hopefully we will have the energy to do a good job against Pitt.”
On whether playing a power game was the focus:
“I don’t know if we played power, I just think we hustled. Getting the offensive rebounds, you’ve got the get the loose ball. I wouldn’t call that power. I thought we hustled. We went after loose balls well. They held us to 30 percent shooting, in spite of 27 offensive rebounds we are 18 for 59. They protect the basket well, but we got them into some [trouble] with some driving and second chance points, we got them into some foul trouble. Once we got them into double bonus, we wanted to really drive the ball, and our kids did. Rodney is nine for 11, Rasheed eight for eight. Our offensive rebounds led to opportunities to do free throws, and that really is the story of the game.”
On defensive improvement:
“Our defense was better before then, it’s just people use stats from November, before we started the season. We play a really good schedule, and we didn’t play really good defense in November. When you all look at those things, you say this is what they have done, and those are irrelevant stats for any team. The most relevant stats are what you’re doing in the last four to six games. People trend, teams change, coaches make changes, and so it really doesn’t matter what place you’re in in all these stats, it’s what you’re doing over the last week or two weeks. We’ve been getting better throughout. Remember we played Michigan with outstanding defense in here. Ask UCLA if we played good defense against them, and Elon and Eastern Michigan. We played really good defense. We did not play well the first three games of the conference, and I’ve already addressed that. That’s not on my guys. We’re getting better. We’re not any kind of powerhouse or anything, but we’re getting better. Our guys are working their butts off.”
On 900th win at Duke:
“Well it’s a lot, it’s a lot of wins. I thank Duke for keeping me. I’ve been blessed with being at one of the greatest schools in the world. Great schools don’t necessarily always have great people in command. This school has. Whether it be Terry Sanford, Keith Brodie, Nan Keohane, or Dick Brodhead, Tom Butters, Joe Alleva, or Kevin White – all those people are sensational. I’ve never had a problem here. Ever. Ever. One time a health problem. The team at Duke has been amazing, and I think you see it even more now with football and our other sports doing so well. We’ve got a good thing going here, and I’ve been blessed to be here for over three decades to take advantage of it.”
Duke Freshman Jabari Parker
“The run in the first half was really good for us and established us a good enough lead going into the second half. Even though they made their run [in the second half], we were still up by 10 and then we were able to just pull it off within the next five minutes of the game.”
“I felt pretty good. I just wanted to be there for my team, get the rebounds, of course, capitalize on disadvantages on defense, and just do whatever I have to do just to win.”
On Duke’s much improved rebounding:
“It was just a process where we try to find good enough positioning and we started to get that experience too. It’s something that we work on. Height really doesn’t make the rebound – it’s just about the desire to get the ball, so that’s what we try to go out and do. I think that helps us get leads. I think it establishes those leads that we get in the first half when we’re able to pull off on teams.”
On the quick turnaround game against Pittsburgh:
“It’s a real quick turnaround then we have to go to Pitt. We’re just going to get ready, get the rest, and get prepared mentally. Our mindset is already on them. We don’t have time to celebrate. We’ve got to go on to the next [game].”
Duke Redshirt Sophomore Rodney Hood
When asked how he felt after a last-minute change that kept him out of the starting lineup:
“I feel good. [It was] just pre-game nerves. I don’t know what it was, but Dre [Andre Dawkins] did a great job starting out the game, and then I came in and just kept rolling. I felt like I played OK. In the first half, I was going to the basket soft. In the second, I was more in attack mode, went to the basket and got fouled a lot and I rebounded the ball well. But in the first half I really didn’t come out aggressive as far as finishing.”
On Duke’s run late in the first half that pushed the lead heading into halftime:
“And I think we could’ve extended it too, even though [FSU is] a great team. There were a lot of plays where our offense hurt our defense. They got into transition and there were a lot of loose balls we could’ve gotten, and we’ll see it on tape. It’s just a big-time win against a really good, athletic team.”
When asked what he thinks has led to Duke’s improved play since the Virginia game:
“Everybody’s all in. I think that’s the biggest thing. We were at the bottom – we lost two games that we should’ve won. Once you’re down at the bottom, you don’t have anywhere to go but up and you want to get out of that mud. So we just had a different mindset and we’re going to keep it going. We’ve got a tough Pitt team at their place, which is going to be tough, but if we keep playing like we’re playing, we’re going to be in a good position.”
Duke Sophomore Marshall Plumlee
On his performance at the foul line today:
“It was good. Free throw shooting is frustrating because I know I’m a capable free throw shooter. It felt nice to see them go in.”
“It’s exciting when you can win and everyone contributes their bit. We have so many good players that bring so many good things to the table. It’s just really exciting and fun to watch when we all get a chip in.”
When asked if he expects Duke to continue the heavy substitutions or even the five-man substitution pattern:
“We’ll see. I think Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] has a better feel for it than anybody, and I think it depends a lot on the personnel of the other team and what our team needs. But regardless, whatever it takes, we’re going to keep our energy level at its highest, whether that means subbing five guys or one guy. We just really want to attack.”
When asked if he thinks Duke is ready to transition to the upcoming road schedule challenge:
“We’re working on it. We just need to show some maturity and some discipline as a team. This next game [at Pittsburgh] will be a really good test for us.”
Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton
“I think during the first five minutes of the game Duke did a very good job putting us back on our heels. They took us out of our rhythm and they did a really good job of on ball pressure. I thought that we turned the ball over about five times in the first 12 possessions. We never seemed to get any offensive rhythm. We dug a hole for ourselves and had a difficult time getting out of it. They went to the foul line a lot more times than we did because they were much more aggressive with the ball, plus they did a lot better job on the offensive boards. We had to go small to adjust to their lineup, and we were not as big as we usually are. They did a good job of taking advantage of our lack of size and they were a lot more aggressive attacking off the boards. They did a really good job and did what I thought would give us the most problems.”
On Jabari Parker:
“He’s a very good player. He is an extremely good athlete, and there isn’t much from a technical standpoint he is not capable of doing. He’s a good ball handler, good passer, he is smart, he is quick, athletic, and he is focused. A lot of times we had a 6’1”, 6’2” guy guarding him on the switch, and I think his eyes lit up a bit when he saw smaller guys on him. He took advantage of that. He is a good player.”
On three-point shooting:
“I think they were very conscious early on about keeping ball pressure on us and getting to our perimeter shooters. We didn’t really move the ball well enough to create the opportunities that we usually give ourselves. We shot 50% and they gave us opportunities to drive to the basket, but they did a very good job of getting to our shooters and taking away the wide open three-point shots. Duke has always done a good job of rotating their post guys and not leaving the perimeter shooters.”
On whether there are “good” losses:
“I think we are a team in transition. I think we might be a little ahead of ourselves with six of our guys being freshman and sophomores. I’m not using that as an excuse, I just believe we have a tremendous upside. I think we can continue to get better. We had things in our game plan that we did not execute very well and it was partly because Duke defended us so well”.