The Florida State Seminoles faced off against their final opponent of the 2022 year, the Duke Blue Devils, traveling to Cameron Indoor Stadium with a 4-10 record after a difficult start to the season.
After winning three of their previous four games, positive momentum might have been on the Noles’ side but it wasn’t enough to stop a powerhouse one of college basketball’s most hostile environments.
After an initial effort saw the Seminoles keep things with Duke close, Florida State fell to the Blue Devils 86-67 in a hard-fought match.
This was head coach Leonard Hamilton’s first game against Duke head coach John Scheyer after the retirement of Mike Krzyzewski. Following the conclusion of the game, both coaches spoke with the media to give their thoughts on the Seminoles. A short recap of the game is provided, explaining the key moments from the Noles’ loss and what the coaches thought of players/momentum shifts.
- Hamilton on Scheyer: “Got to give a lot of credit to Scheyer, gets his guys to play the Duke way... I’m very impressed with him.”
Full game recap: Florida State battles but can’t hang with Duke in Cameron
Noles take an early lead
Corhen found an open lane for Cleveland to break the ice for the Seminoles, scoring the first points of the game. After a dry streak of over two minutes for the Blue Devils, they plugged in their first basket with 17:30 left in the half.
The packed crowd played a tremendous factor in the Noles early jitters, leading to two missed free throws from Mills and an early 5-2 deficit. Green had back-to-back buckets to secure a 7-5 lead for the Noles and steal back the momentum leading to a timeout on the floor. Green seemed to be the only Seminole that was calm in the moment, but the timeout cooled down both teams.
Blue Devils make a run at the Seminoles:
Duke substituted three players into the lineup to try and spark something on the offensive end after a streaky start. The decision from the Devils coaching staff quickly paid off when center Ryan Young dominated the paint, scoring six straight points on his own. Mills was only option for the Noles on offense when Cleveland hit the bench, but he was able to drop in a couple crafty buckets inside the paint. At the 11:17 mark Florida State was down 14-11.
- Hamilton on Cleveland: “Obviously he has a high basketball IQ... I think he realized he needed to step up when [Cam’Ron Fletcher] was injured... He’s only starting to round his game out, we think he has a lot more room for growth.”
The Blue Devils jumped to a 21-13 lead after a couple careless turnovers and generous whistles; FSU had six team fouls, while the Devils had two. Florida State didn’t have any answer on the offensive end, and there was early fatigue with issues on help defense, especially in the perimeter. With 7:28 remaining, Duke held a 24-15 lead.
- Hamilton on the Noles energy: “When fatigue sets in, I thought we had a lot of that going on, guys just kind of getting to the other end of the floor without the level of intensity that we’ve been accustomed to playing with.”
Florida State ends the half in despair
A delayed media timeout for a video review with just under minutes remaining gave Florida State possession of the ball down 29-18. Young was back in business for the Blue Devils with FSU center Naheem McLeod having a tough time defending him. He scored a couple baskets for the Devils, which opened up the paint for scoring opportunities by Dariq Whitehead. The Seminoles dug themselves in a deep hole when Duke went on a 7-0 run to snatch a 42-25 lead.
- Scheyer on Whitehead: “I’ve always believed that preparation leads to confidence, and that’s why I said I have a lot of confidence in you... I’m excited to see where it goes. He did a really good job tonight.”
The Seminoles ended the half on a 2:07 scoring drought with three turnovers in the final minutes. Heading into the break Florida State was shooting 30% from three and 36% from the field, with eight turnovers and just three offensive rebounds. On the defensive end, FSU had clear trouble on help defense and couldn’t secure necessary defensive boards to push the ball up the floor.
Seminoles look for spark after the break
Florida State had a 17-point deficit to start the second half. They needed to come out of the locker room with a sense of urgency to cut the lead, and make sure that offensive rebounds as well as defending the three are a priority.
Both teams went back and forth in the scoring column and the Noles found themselves down 47-35 with 16 minutes remaining. Heading into a timeout Whitehead and Cleveland picked up technical fouls that offset after the Blue Devils were visibly upset with Mills’ aggressiveness on both ends of the floor.
The Noles had some opportunities on the free throw line, but didn’t have a great percentage at the stripe. With 11:58 left in the game, Duke had a 54-40 lead over the Seminoles. FSU cut the deficit to 60-49 with 10 minutes remaining, leading to a timeout on the floor. They were moving to the ball with a quicker pace on the defensive end, and found the open man on offense high ball screens.
Duke overcomes a late push from the Noles
Duke carried a 67-55 lead with 7:52 remaining after the Noles went 7-7 on their latest field goal attempts. Blue Devils freshman Mark Mitchell was a bright spot on offense, scoring eight points in the second half. His confidence was contagious for the Blue Devils. Duke went on a 14-1 run in the span of 4:25 that pushed them to an 81-56 lead.
Despite a boost in deflections from the Seminoles, the game was getting away from them later in the half. The Blue Devils had an 83-63 lead with 1:25 left. Florida State’s chance slimmed down minute by minute in the second half, even with a couple pushes from Cleveland and Green.
- Scheyer’s final statement on Florida State: “I started here in 2006 and Florida State’s been one of those teams we’ve had incredible battles with. So much respect for Coach Ham and what he’s done, and to be in this situation coaching against him and a great program like Florida State is an honor for me and obviously for our program.”