With a chance to solidify its lead in the ACC, Duke welcomed the always dangerous Florida State Seminoles into Cameron Indoor Stadium, and it was a grudge match through-out, neither team was able to dominate and Michael Snaer’s 3-pointer as time expired ended the Devils 45 game home win streak.Â But the writing was on the wall for Duke to drop this game to Florida State at Cameron. Duke has yet to establish itself as a strong defensive team. I’m not much for streaks and the pressure that puts on a team, they has never really mattered to me, what matters to me is how the game is played and for the most part Duke played well and when you analyze the numbers maybe they should have won.
Duke did win the rebounding battle, Duke made more threes, Duke had fewer turnovers. But what Duke lacked and what ultimately made the difference in this game was a Duke’s inability to get stops, and Dukes inability to be consistent on either end of the court. No glaring deficiencies in stats that would favor Florida State in this game but Duke left critical points on the floor, be it free throws, missed opportunities at the rim. Duke only missed 4 free throws in this game but the ones that were missed were at critical stages.
There were still too many mistakes on the defensive end, the last one being an open 3 pointer to end the game. Again as nit-picky as some of these things are, the margin for error for this Duke team is slim and against a surging Florida State team it was apparently slimmer.
Duke got good scoring outputs from guard Austin Rivers who scored 19 points, and while being credited with one turnover it was a critical turnover which let to points for Florida State in the second half. Also a drive into a double team which ended in an easy Florida State stop, while not officially a turnover served the same purpose. Seth Curry added 12 points but shot only 4-16, Curry also had a live ball turnover on what should have been an easy dish to Mason Plumlee for 2 instead of a Florida State run out.
Florida State was able to clamp down and keep Dukes bigs ineffective, Duke was unable to get good post passes and when the passes were made the ball usually was kicked back out. The Plumlees together were only able to score 13 points. Duke will not be an elite team if its post players are disappearing for long stretches of games, in this game nearly the entire second half.
Florida State was also much better offensively the second half, Duke giving up 50 points in a half at home is indicative on how far the defense still has to go. Florida State is no offensive juggernaut and Duke did not defendÂ as well coming in after halftime.
Duke had its chances to win this game and when they look back at the film it will show the little things that Duke didn’t do are the things that sunk them in this close game. The inability to play with a lead, to garner momentum and run offense effectively, the lack of a post presence, and guard play–yes Duke has guards that can shoot, but guards that can pass and make plays for others is critical. It will be interesting to see what happens next. How does Duke respond to losing at home?