The Blue Devils survived the pesky Hokies 60-56 to advance to the semi finals where they'll take on a talented Florida State team this afternoon. In the process Duke tied the second longest streak of ACC Tournament victories at 10 consecutive wins. The Blue Devils defense was the key against the Hokies, holding their opponent to 30.2% from the field.
Duke doubled the production of the Hokies in the paint by a 24-12 margin and their fast break worked as well to a 8 to 3 rate. But Duke was just 5 of 26 from the three point stripe and that number must improve against Florida State. The Blue Devils also benefited from going 15 of 18 from the free throw line and that was a huge factor in winning their 27th game of the season.
Tyler Thornton was a vital part of the win as well, despite missing several three pointers. But the ones he did make were at key moments and he seemed to be there every time their was a loose ball, garnering 3 steals. Austin Rivers led Duke in scoring wih 17 points and Mason Plumlee played very well scoring 12 points to go with 10 rebounds.
As I hinted to earlier, Duke went small just minutes into the game, rotating the the borthers Plumlee with Ryan Kelly sidelined for the tournament. You can expect more of that today against the Semionoles winners over Miami. This will be the rubber match between these two clubs and trust me when I say the Florida State fans travelled well here and they've let their presence be known. Of course, Duke will have all the UNC fans pulling against them as well in that the Heels face rival N.C. State in t he opening game.
There is no doubt that the Duke-Florida State game is likely to go to the wire and it'll be a tense affair throughout. The Blue Devils must keep a body on the Seminoles and hold their on in the paint while hitting a better percentage from beyond the three point arc. So, pull up a chair if you think you can actually sit down during this game and root your Blue Devils on for they'll need the collective support from the fan base today.
Duke fans were a bit quiet in the arena yesterday and they'll need to pick up the support as well. We'll continue to have post game wrap ups with exclusive video and photo galleries from Lance King, so bookmark Blue Devil Nation now and go up close and personal behind the scenes. As for our prediction today, we'll take the Duke Blue Devils 66-64.