Duke easily sends back Florida State

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Torrid shooting propelled No. 5 Duke to an easy victory at Florida State.
And another sloppy performance and lackluster effort by FSU's veterans ensured that the Seminoles could never even make it close.
The Blue Devils put on an offensive showcase Saturday, shooting 60.8 percent from the field in a dominating 79-60 victory over Florida State at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Seth Curry scored a game-high 21 points and Quinn Cook added 18 for the Blue Devils, who led by as much as 26 in the first half and went into the break with a 20-point lead.
"You couldn't have a better start," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "You look up and you're winning by a lot and there's 14:56 to go in the first half. All the mental stuff that can happen to a team when you do have a lead never happened to our team. They kept their composure."
With Duke having looked fallible in recent weeks and the Seminoles riding high after a last-second win over Maryland last week, the Blue Devils appeared to perhaps be ripe for another upset.
Instead, the Blue Devils (19-2, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) attacked FSU's defense from the opening tip, scoring the game's first 11 points on the heels of a five quick points and an assist from Cook. Duke led 18-2 less than six minutes into the game and effectively silenced Florida State's sellout crowd.
The Blue Devils' 79 points were the most allowed by FSU since March 11, 2012.
"They were able to put themselves, mentally, at that magic level that has been kind of elusive with us," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "To the point where every time they had an open look and we faltered defensively they made us pay."
Curry finished 7 of 11 from the field and 5 of 7 (71.4 percent) from beyond the arc, well above his season average of 41.4 percent from 3-point range.
Duke connected for 11 3-pointers, seven of which came in the second half, and four Blue Devils finished in double figures.
"I didn't really feel that they would continue to keep shooting that way, and I felt that, if we executed, we would find a way to creep back into the game," Hamilton said. "But that never really happened. They shot the ball better. They became more focused when they got the lead."
And as Duke kept cruising, Florida State (12-9, 4-4) once again struggled to find its offensive rhythm. FSU missed its first five shots and was held scoreless until Montay Brandon's jumper at the 16:05 mark.
Senior guard Michael Snaer, whose last-second heroics lifted FSU to narrow victories in each of its last two home games, was held scoreless in the first half, finished the game with just seven points and shot just 3-of-13 from the field.
Krzyzewski credited freshman guard Rasheed Sulaimon's defensive effort for keeping Snaer in check.
"That was Rasheed's best defensive performance of the year," he said. "Giving him the assignment to guard Michael was a huge assignment. And he handled it well."
FSU made just 21 of its 52 attempts from the field and was just 3 of 13 (23.1 percent) from 3-point range.
Freshman guard Aaron Thomas had his best offensive output in more than a month with a team-high 14 points.
I'm proud of our guys, since the Miami game (a 90-63 loss), to win three games in seven days and two of them on the road," Krzyzewski said. "Shows I have good kids and they're working hard and they've won."
Notes: Duke senior forward Mason Plumlee, who averages 34 minutes per game, played just 25 minutes after picking up two first-half fouls. Krzyzewski said he would've played him more had the Blue Devils' lead had started to slip away. ... Duke's 42 points at halftime were the most that Florida State has allowed in the first half this season. ... Saturday also marked the seventh consecutive game that the Seminoles have trailed at halftime. ... FSU's bench outscored its starters 17-5 in the first half. The Seminoles' veteran trio of Michael Snaer, Okaro White and Ian Miller combined for just one point in the first 20 minutes.

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