Coach K back on bench as No. 9 Duke rolls past Florida State

Published 9:07 pm Saturday, February 19, 2022

By AARON BEARD

AP Basketball Writer

DURHAM — Freshman forward Paolo Banchero scored 17 points as No. 9 Duke beat Florida State 88-70 on Saturday night with retiring Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski back after missing the second half of the Blue Devils’ previous game because he wasn’t feeling well.

Reserve forward Joey Baker provided a big lift for Duke, scoring 12 points on four first-half 3-pointers. That included back-to-back shots from each corner during the Blue Devils’ push shortly before halftime that finally stretched out the lead after both teams rarely missed to start.

The Blue Devils (23-4, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) closed the half on a 12-2 burst to take a 52-41 lead against the injury-depleted Seminoles, then did a better job containing FSU’s drivers as they broke open the game in the second half. Duke finished the game shooting 52%, including 11 of 28 from 3-point range.

The win allowed Duke to avenge last month’s 79-78 overtime road loss to Florida State, as well as push into sole possession of first place in the ACC with Notre Dame’s loss at Wake Forest earlier Saturday.

Freshman guard Matthew Cleveland scored 16 points to lead the Seminoles (14-12, 7-9), who played yet again with a shorthanded roster. They still got off to a strong start by penetrating into the paint and making 16 of 23 shots (69.6%) to offset Duke’s own strong offense in rowdy Cameron Indoor Stadium.

That included a run of seven straight made shots over nearly six minutes of game action, which had FSU down just 40-39 on Wyatt Wilkes’ 3-pointer with 3:53 left.

But Duke answered with a game-changing run, which included Baker’s consecutive 3s. Then came a spectacular transition sequence with Wendell Moore Jr. throwing a roughly halfcourt bounce pass to freshman A.J. Griffin for a rim-rattling dunk and a 51-41 lead in the final minute of the half.

The Seminoles shot just 11 of 27 (41%) after halftime as the deficit ballooned.

BIG PICTURE

FSU: Injuries had the Seminoles down five starters for this one. That included leading scorer Caleb Mills — sporting a protective boot on his left ankle after rolling it in last weekend’s loss at North Carolina — and 6-foot-4 senior RayQuan Evans due to a banged-up knee from Tuesday’s win against Clemson. The Seminoles played aggressively and fearlessly early behind Cleveland (11 first-half points) and Tanor Ngom (nine of his 11 before halftime) before the game got away near its midway point.

Duke: The Blue Devils had six players in double figures and shared the ball well with 25 assists on 32 baskets, including eight assists from freshman Trevor Keels and seven more from Moore. There was also Krzyzewski looking more like himself on the bench; the Blue Devils’ trainer had to tend to him during the first half of Tuesday’s win against Wake Forest before associate head coach Jon Scheyer — Coach K’s successor when he retires this spring — took over after halftime in that narrow win.

UP NEXT

FSU: The Seminoles have a short turnaround, visiting Boston College on Monday.

Duke: The Blue Devils visit Virginia on Wednesday in the first of three straight road games.

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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