Wednesday, January 12, 2011

So much for going undefeated as Duke shoots just 31 percent

For all the pundits who saw Duke waltzing through the ACC regular season and tournament, think again. After a close victory at home against Maryland, Duke went down to Florida and fell to Florida State 66-61 tonight.

The Blue Devils managed to hit only 31 percent of their field goals, and relied too heavily on the three-point shot, hoisting up 35 of them.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski doesn't so much believe that as he believes Florida State's defense was just that good. "They just played great defense," Coach K said. "Their defense just dominated our offense for about 25 minutes."

He said his team played well the last 15 minutes or so but that Florida State played the full 40 minutes.

"Florida State played with an unbelievable amount of emotion and their defense was just great," he added. "I've said all along we're not a great team since Kyrie's (Irving) injury but we have a chance to be a good team."

Duke was ranked No. 1 and had won 25 straight games dating back to last season. Many were not only handing the ACC regular season title to the Devils but expecting them to go undefeated through the ACC tournament.

"Each team has to learn through tough experiences," Coach K said. "We're going to get everyone's best shot."

We said after the close win over Maryland that took late threes to win it, that it would be tough for Duke to go undefeated. Having the loss so early in the ACC season may actually help the Blue Devils. Running the table will still give Duke the ACC regular season title and there no longer will be that pressure and conversation about Duke being undefeated.

For their part, Florida State, 12-5, played well coming off a 12-point loss to Virginia Tech. Derwin Kitchen, who hit a big off-balanced baseline jumper late in the game, led all scorers with 22 points. Chris Singleton, who drained an open three with less than three minutes to play after Duke had cut the lead to one, added 18. Florida State hit five straight free throws over the last 34 seconds.

FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said his players stuck to the game plan, kept their poise and made some big defensive stops. "I hope they (his players) understand now the way we have to play in order to be successful," Hamilton said.

Duke, 15-1, were led by Kyle Singler's 20 points and Nolan Smith's 19.

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