ACC Basketball: Duke races past Florida State
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Mike Krzyewski was so impressed he wasn’t sure which player he might praise for their effort.
Seth Curry scored 21 points, Quinn Cook added 18 and fifth-ranked Duke cruised to a 79-60 win Saturday over Florida State.
The Blue Devils were crisp from the opening tip until the final horn, blowing past the defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions with ease.
“Our guys played a terrific basketball game,” said Krzyewski. “It’s tough to single out any one guy.”
It was hard to miss the pinpoint shooting of Duke’s backcourt. Curry and Cook combined for 39 points and together were 9 of 13 from beyond the 3-point arc. They effectively took Florida State out of the game early with their long-range accuracy.
“It was raining 3’s,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said in admiration of Duke’s performance. “They were able to put themselves at that magic level that has been elusive to us.”
Duke raced to an 18-2 lead and never looked back, building a 26-point advantage at one point on the way to a 42-22 cushion at halftime.
“We wanted to throw the first punch today and send a statement,” said Cook, who also had six assists. “We have great shooters on our team.”
Curry, who had 13 points at the break, was 7 of 11 from the field and 5 of 7 from behind the arc. Cook was 4 of 6 from long range.
“We were hitting on all cylinders,” said Curry. “It was just a matter of getting good shots.”
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon added 14 points and Amile Jefferson 11 for Duke, which held its largest lead at 50-22 after Jefferson hit a pair of free throws 2 minutes into the second half.
The Blue Devils (19-2, 6-2 ACC) scored the game’s first 11 points, while Florida State went nearly six-and-a-half minutes before getting its second basket.
Duke shot 60.8 percent and connected on 11 of 18 from 3-point range as Florida State allowed a season high in points.
Freshman Aaron Thomas led Florida State (12-9, 4-4) with 14 points, while Devon Bookert, also a freshman, added nine.
Curry hit two free throws after Florida State’s Michael Snaer was whistled for a technical foul to give Duke a 38-12 lead with 3:09 left in the first half.
Snaer, Florida State’s leading scorer, was held without a point until nearly 5 minutes were gone in the second half when he connected on a 3-pointer from the corner.
Snaer, whose 3 with 1.1 seconds on the clock lifted the Seminoles to a 73-71 win over Maryland on Wednesday, was just 3 of 13 from the floor for the Seminoles, who shot 41.8 percent overall. He wasn’t able to get many good looks Saturday with Sulaimon pressing him for much of the game.
“Giving him the assignment to guard Michael was a huge assignment,” Krzyewski said. “He handled it well.”
The Blue Devils shot 62 percent in the first half, while Florida State hit just 28 percent of its shots.
Duke was without 6-foot-11 senior Ryan Kelly for a sixth straight game. Kelly, who is Duke’s third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder, was on the bench in street clothes and a walking boot on his right foot.
“Since Ryan went down we had to change our philosophies a little bit,” Curry said. “We’re getting better and we have to continue to get better.”
The Seminoles have been living dangerously of late, stealing a pair of wins in a week on Snaer’s last-second 3-pointers.
Snaer also hit a buzzer-beater at Duke last year that sank the Blue Devils.
They’ve been surprisingly competitive in several games despite struggling on the glass, a problem made all the worse by a potential season-ending injury to redshirt junior Terrance Shannon — their most reliable rebounder.
Duke had a 27-24 rebound advantage in Saturday afternoon’s win.
Shannon collided with Virginia forward Evan Nolte and fell to the court during the Seminoles’ 56-36 loss to the Cavaliers on Jan. 19. He lay motionless for 10 minutes before being removed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital with a neck injury. He was released the next day.
Team trainers said Saturday that they are still unsure about whether Shannon will return this season. Shannon was in street clothes on the Florida State bench, but without the neck brace he has previously worn.