No. 17 Duke defeated No. 15 Florida State, 75-70, on Tuesday night in the final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. The victory avenges the Blue Devils’ 88-72 loss to the Seminoles earlier this season.
The five-point finish didn’t do this game justice.
Duke took it to Florida State. The Blue Devils led by as many as 19 in the second half. It was a three-possession 16 seconds remaining in regulation.
The game started out as a rock fight, but the Blue Devils opened up a double-digit lead inside three minutes of the first half. Florida State never got in-sync offensively, that was only compounded by turnovers. The Seminoles had 10 first-half miscues, resulting in 16 points for Duke.
Frank Jackson, who saw additional time with Grayson Allen still working back from an ankle injury, had a career-high 22 points. Amile Jefferson posted a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds in his final home game.
Dwayne Bacon had a team-high 19 points, but 16 of them came in the final six minutes (he scored seven in the final 40 seconds). Jonathan Issac also had an off night, 3-of-7 shooting for eight points and eight rebounds.
Florida State at one point held a 16-1 record and had wins over Florida, at Virginia and over Duke, giving you the impression the Seminoles were capable of a big run in the NCAA Tournament. However, the Seminoles have struggled as of late, especially away from home. Since winning at Virginia, Florida State is 2-6 on the road.
Dwayne Bacon’s recent struggles are another concern moving forward.
In the first meeting, Florida State dominated by owning the paint, outscoring Duke, 56-28, inside. That was a game without Amile Jefferson.
Jefferson, who was still favoring his right foot as he still has not fully healed, yet he set the tone early against the longer frontline with eight points and eight boards in the first 20 minutes.
It just seems like Florida State is more susceptible to off nights than other teams we’d peg as contenders.
As for Duke, Frank Jackson appears to becoming on at the right time. The freshman guard had his best night in college, which came after a 16-point, six-rebounds and three-assist performance in the team’s previous game against Miami. The lead guard has certainly taken advantage of the available minutes. Grayson Allen, after missing Saturday’s loss was held to 16 minutes and scored two points.
While Jackson’s emergence is a nice sign for Duke, on the eve March, the team will need both Jefferson and Allen to be fully healthy.
Florida State ends the regular season at home against Miami. Duke will face the rival Tar Heels on Saturday when the Blue Devils travel to North Carolina.