Duke gains huge win over Florida State, remains atop the ACC

The Duke Blue Devils had fire in their eyes when they entered Donald L. Tucker Center and by games end they were perched atop the ACC with a 74-66 victory.

 Resilient Blue Devils show poise in victory

Miles Plumlee ended the game on the bench with 5 fouls. Mason Plumlee was reduced to a shadow of himself as he was saddled with 4 fouls, 3 early on but the Blue Devils overcame foul trouble. Had somebody told you Mason Plumlee would score a single point would you have thought there would be a Duke win?  The resilient Blue Devils never allowed Florida State to get too confident and the frustration played a factor as the game went on. Duke showed great poise throughout the game despite a most hostile crowd and pretty much took them out of the equation during large stretches of the game. And when the crowd did get into it as Florida State closed the margin late, the Blue Devils never folded on a night when they played 40 minutes of good basketball. And that's what it took to beat a talented and explosive Florida State team.

Time to recognize this Duke team

The Blue Devils have secured victories over the likes of Kansas, North Carolina. Michigan, Michigan State and now Florida State on the road where they are now 7-0.  It's time to give them their due at 24-4 overall with three regular season games to go.  If Duke takes care of business in their next two games against Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, they'll at worst play for the ACC regular season title.  This team just finds a way of getting it done.  The Blue Devils have remained in the top ten all season long and that has been the case for an amazing and soon to be 92 straight weeks streak under Kryzewski.

Dre all day!

When Andre Dawkins brings it and is on his shot, look out! Dawkins scored 18 1st half points and finished as the Blue Devils leading scorer with 22. This was the 4th time Dawkins scored 20 plus points this season and this one came when Duke had to win to remain in the ACC regular season title hunt. Dawkins also grabbed 5 key rebounds and dished one dime to go with a steal. Dawkins came up huge when Duke needed him and that was a huge reason for tonight's win. Dawkins made three-pointers on back-to-back possessions twice in the first half. Back-to-back treys by Dawkins stretched a 7 point lead to a 13-point lead in a span of 26 seconds. Dawkins leads Duke with 89 three-pointers on the season and leads the ACC with a .422 three-point percentage.

Austin wanted the rock!

You have to love the fact that freshman, Austin Rivers, wanted the ball in his hands in key situations and so did the staff, his teammates and fans. Rivers scored 20 points to go with 4 assists and 4 rebounds in one of his better efforts of the season. Rivers was there to knock down four daggers, otherwise known as the three pointer and each one was a exclamation point. But I liked his defense in this game, especially his late steal.  Rivers will be a unanimous choice for ACC Rookie of the Year and he could make a run for some first team votes if he doesn't already have a few.

Speaking of the three ball ...

Duke drilled home 16 of 37 three point shots which translates into 39 points. In comparison, the Seminoles scored 12 points beyond the stripe, a 27 point differential. Seth Curry struggled for much of the game but Krzyzewski stuck with him and his late game play and three were huge for Duke. And Ryan Kelly hit what might have been the biggest of all the threes where the Blue Devils maintained much needed momentum.

Miles Plumlee comes up big

On a night when Mason Plumlee scored a single point, Duke still won, thanks to his brother Miles Plumlee who scored 10 points and 8 rebounds which led the team. Miles earned the praise of Krzyzewski who said his play set a standard for the rest of the season. Considering the foul trouble Duke had in the post, Plumlee showed the ability to succeed without being too aggressive. The senior has been playing some really good basketball of late and just in the nick of time for the Devils.

Another solid effort from Kelly

Ryan Kelly had his second 4 point play of the season when he was fouled on a made three pointer in the first half and then made the ensuing free throw. Kelly was in double figures for the 17th time this season, the third most on the team. Kelly knocked down a huge three-point shot with 4:30 remaining in the game which gave Duke’s 6 point lead as the 'Noles made a run. Kelly took another charge and leads the Blue Devils in that category. Kelly hit all five free throws. Kelly is shooting 80.8 percent from the free throw line, 41.2 percent from three-point range and 45.3 percent from the floor.

Ridiculous turnaround

Who made this schedule? The Blue Devils will head to Durham shortly and be back on the Duke campus in the wee hours of the morning. Then they will have a short day and night before tipping off at noon against Virginia Tech. Duke will be tired and in need of a lift that only the ....

... Cameron Crazies can provide

The Blue Devils are having a fabulous season and they are growing as a team right before our eyes. And with just two home games left and coming off a huge road win over Florida State, the Blue Devils will need their sixth man to turn out in droves and show their appreciation. So, come on Crazies! Do your thing.

Facts and numbers of interest

Duke improved to 31-8 against Florida State in a series that began in 1955. Duke had lost the previous two meetings, including the 76-73 buzzer-beating loss to the Seminoles on Jan. 21 in Cameron Indoor Stadium.Duke won its seventh straight ACC road game. During the Blue Devils’ 58-year tenure in the ACC, they have started 7-0 in ACC road games just four times. The last time Duke started 7-0 in league road games was in 2005-06. Duke finished a perfect 8-0 in ACC road games in 1998-99 and 1999-2000. The Seminoles had allowed no more than 11 three-pointers in a game all season until Duke hit 13 tonight. Duke improved to 5-1 this season against ranked teams. The Blue Devils have wins over North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan, Florida State and Virginia. Duke’s only ranked loss came on the road against No. 2 Ohio State. Duke is holding opponents to a .277 shooting percentage from three-point range.