There's a reason big time programs rarely go on the road during out-of-conference play. Because winning on the road is a rare thing. So it wasn't a surprise when FSU began the game at Cameron Indoor looking like a disjointed team. Turnovers. Missed shots. Players arguing. But all that was fine. What was upsetting was that the Seminoles weren't executing the game plan. FSU routinely spread Duke out (their style of defense makes it easy to put defenders on islands) but then didn't attack on the dribble even though FSU guards had the advantage. The end result was that it took a miracle Michael Snaer banked-in 3-pointer to send the Noles to the half only down six. Frankly, it should have been 10 or 12.
But the 2nd half was a different story. The Noles were poised, and they executed. Michael Snaer, Luke Loucks and Ian Miller routinely got into the lane and made positive things happen. This put Xavier Gibson and Bernard James in position to score, either through dunks when the defense left them to help on the drive, or through put backs. That's how FSUs offense needs to operate. The days of pounding the post (never mind how many times Len Elmore says otherwise) should be over.
Halfway through the 2nd half the Seminoles turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions and suddenly found themselves down 58-50. FSU called a timeout and regrouped. Going back to the lineup which began the game the Noles began cutting into the lead, finally taking it with :57 seconds left on a Michael Snaer jumper. 51 seconds and one bullshit block call later Duke tied the game 73-73. But Luke Loucks calmly pushed the ball up the court, found Michael Snaer on the wing, and for the 2nd consecutive half he buried a three at the buzzer. Noles win 76-73. Duke's 45 game home winning streak comes to an end, and the Noles are in a 4-way tie atop the ACC.
Xavier Gibson led the way with 16 points. He made a crucial (if ill-informed) three during FSU's late run, and he made 7-8 from the line. Michael Snaer had 14, and Bernard James had 12 points and 8 boards. Deividas Dulkys continued his hot shooting and is now 12-17 (70.1%) from beyond the arc in his past three games.
FSU travels to Wake Forest on Wednesday.