(22) Florida State (23-7, 11-6 ACC) defeated Duke (15-15, 6-11 ACC) 51-41 tonight in Greensboro, NC to advance to the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.
The game started out close. Florida State built a couple of modest leads but Duke was able to respond. The Blue Devils did a great job finding cutters for layups. Duke’s first 10 points were on layups as the Devils sliced up FSU’s defense with precision passing. Nicki Ekhomu ended the scoring in the quarter with a triple to give the Noles a 14-10 lead going into the second stanza. There was only one foul called in the first quarter.
Duke scored four quick points to tie the score at 14 on the strength of a pair of layups from Haley Gorecki and Jade Williams. The Seminoles responded with a 7-0 run powered by five straight points from Kiah Gillespie. Gorecki broke the run with a triple to cut the lead to 21-17. Gorecki and Valencia Myers closed out the scoring by trading layups and the Noles enjoyed a 23-19 lead going into halftime.
FSU increased the lead in the third by starting out on a 7-2 run. Duke was getting good shots but they weren’t able to hit them. From there the teams exchanged baskets (mostly layups) until the Blue Devils went on a 6-1 mini-run to cut FSU’s lead to 35-31. Nausia Woolfolk ended the scoring with a driving layup to put the Noles up 37-31.
Florida State continued the onslaught in the fourth quarter by hitting three straight layups to build their largest lead of the game at 43-31 with 7:12 left in the game. Gorecki finally answered for Duke with another three ball. From there the teams traded a couple of layups but time was beginning to run out on Duke. Gorecki hit one of two free throws to cut FSU’s lead to 47-39 with a couple of minutes left in the game. From there Savannah Wilkinson and Sayawni Lassiter each hit a pair of free throws to ice the game and the Noles walked away with a 51-41 win.
Kiah Gillespie delivered a double-double for FSU with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Nausia Woolfolk had 10 points and nine rebounds. Valencia Myers had eight points and four rebounds and four big blocks.
Florida State killed Duke on the boards (42-28) and the offensive rebounding was key to this win. FSU had 15 second chance points to Duke’s seven.
Duke was able to stay close in the first half and they were aided by FSU turnovers. The Noles had 11 in the first half. However, FSU was able to clean that up and only committed four turnovers in the second half. The Seminoles also did a great job denying the cutting offense that worked so well for the Devils in the first half.
The Blue Devils played the last two minutes of the game poorly. They should have been fouling to stop the clock. It looked like that was their strategy but they didn’t commit to it fully and they let too much time run off the clock before fouling. Also, they only had committed one foul up to that point so they had three to give before the bonus and they didn’t seem to appreciate that fact. FSU would have probably won in any case given the lead but Duke didn’t do itself any favors at the end of the game.
This is the first time that FSU has ever beaten Duke in the ACC Tournament. The Noles were 0-7 before this game.
The Seminoles are now 17-0 on the season when leading at halftime.
FSU will take on ninth ranked and third seeded NC State (25-4, 12-4 ACC) tomorrow at 8 pm in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. The game will be broadcast on the FOX Sports Network. The Noles defeated the Wolfpack last month in Tallahassee by a 75-70 score.