clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Baseline breakdown: FSU runs away with top-10 victory over Duke

12 straight wins is a new program record for the Seminoles.

The Florida State basketball team got no reprieve after a pair of wins over ranked opponents over the last ten days. Instead, the vaunted Duke Blue Devils came to town on Tuesday, looking to give the Seminoles, who were newly-minted with their first top-ten ranking in five years, their first conference loss. Instead, FSU turned the tables on the No. 7 Blue Devils, running away with a 88-72 victory, the largest margin of victory over Duke in program history, to further cement their legitimacy. What were the keys to FSU’s 12th straight win?

Above the Rim

In the win, there were definitely some Florida State players whose stat lines jump out at you. Xavier Rathan-Mayes put on a show, racking up 21 points, 19 of which came in the second half.

However, it’s the play of those that does not go as highly recognized in the box score which has made the difference so far this season for the Seminoles. Tuesday’s win was a prime example of that.

Senior Jarquez Smith had an exceptional under-the-radar game. He finished the night with an unremarkable eight points on 4-7 shooting to go along with five rebounds. That being said, his ability to affect shots (he had three blocks), his hustle up and down the court over the entirety of his 22 minutes of play, as well as his leadership cannot go unrecognized. A play of his that stands out occurred when he briefly injured his leg in the second half. He was unable to get downcourt on offense for a possession because it bothered him so badly to walk. However, when the Blue Devils brought the ball back down, Smith ran across the court and leaped through the air to deflect what would otherwise have been an easy alley oop.

Sophomore forward Terrance Mann also had a special showing in the victory against Duke. He was almost perfect from the floor, finishing 6-7 with 13 points, and had a game-high seven rebounds, five of which were at the offensive end and many of which led directly to points. His knack for making an impact in a variety of ways which Leonard Hamilton deems his stat-stuffing ability was on full display in the victory.

It may not have been Dwayne Bacon’s night to excel as a scorer as he finished the game with 13 points. However, he was more than happy to step into the distributor role while Rathan-Mayes exploded in the scoring column. Bacon’s five assists were a season high and he added six rebounds as well to go along with a pair of steals.

It was an impressive showing from Florida State inside the arc as the Seminoles converted on 57.7% of their two-pointers. It was an off night both from outside the arc (5-14, 35.7%) and, more disconcertingly, from the free throw line (13-20, 65%), but none of this kept the Seminoles from running away with the victory.

Court Level

There’s no denying how badly the Blue Devils missed the presence of senior big man Amile Jefferson, who sat out after suffering a foot injury against Boston College over the weekend. In the victory, the Seminoles doubled up the Blue Devils in the paint, outscoring them 56-28. The paint dominance did not stop there, though. Florida State outrebounded Duke 38-30 and had 14 offensive rebounds to the Blue Devils 10.

This domination in the interior was in large part to Florida State’s attacking mentality inside the paint which led to early fouls on Duke’s bigs. By halftime, Chase Jeter, Matt Jones, and Harry Giles each had a pair of fouls which limited their action and forced them to play softer defensively when they were on the court.

On defense, FSU put together an impressive team effort which saw a prolific Duke offense that averages 1.162 points per possession, tenth in the NCAA, held to .960 points/possession on Tuesday. It’s not a new theme but the entire Florida State roster continues to buy in to Hamilton’s intense defensive scheme he has sought after. Over the last few games, the consistent defensive effort has brought on an uptick in execution which was quite evident in the win over Duke, particularly in forcing turnovers as the Blue Devils finished with 16 turnovers.

In truth, Florida State’s domination extended to all phases of the game. The Seminoles outscored the Blue Devils in second-chance points (19-7), bench points (21-4), and fastbreak points (13-4), taking advantage of a team that was outclassed in depth and wearing them down as the game carried on.

There are instances where a team may steal a victory because a star player plays out of his mind or because home-field advantage plays a role and winning on the road is no small task regardless of the location. That was not the case on Tuesday night in Tallahassee. Florida State looked and played like the better team for the vast majority of the game and the result was another impressive win to a resume that is quickly stacking up with some of the best in the nation.


Head Coach Leonard Hamilton reacts to the huge Florida State Seminoles Basketball victory over Duke.

Posted by on Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A multitude of FSU players addressed the media after the game including Terrance Mann

Michael Ojo

Dwayne Bacon

And Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who talked with the media in two settings. In the first, he fielded questions on the atmosphere at Tuesday’s game and how he is able to save his biggest performances for the biggest stages. In the second, he praises the game that Jarquez Smith had and discusses ways in which this FSU team can still improve.

Waiting at the Scorer’s Table

Florida State has a fourth straight showdown with a ranked opponent on the horizon this weekend as the Seminoles travel to Chapel Hill to take on the No. 11 North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday.