FSU Basketball Dominates Duke, Continues Record Win Streak

FSU basketball continues to roll, demolishing the Duke Blue Devils 88-72 to win their 12th game in a row.

The good times just won’t stop in Tallahassee. In what was their toughest challenge of the season, the Seminoles proved their worth against the mighty Duke Blue Devils. The 88-72 win by FSU basketball was their 12th in a row. And if Jonathan Isaac is able to make a point-blank layup against Temple, this team would be undefeated. Crazy.

I feel like I’ve said this about almost every FSU win this season, but the game was close until about the 10-minute mark of the second half. Then, Duke, who was shorthanded without center Amile Jefferson, just ran out of gas.

The Seminoles had no trouble getting easy baskets around the rim. Though they shot poorly from the foul line, and from three, they were able to have a huge game offensively by doing their damage in the paint. The team shot 58 percent from inside the arc.

Florida State also shined defensively against the Blue Devils. They held Duke’s potent offense to 41 percent shooting, and 29 percent from three. The Seminoles also turned them over 16 times, a lot of those leading to easy transition baskets. Duke’s Luke Kennard, who I think might be bolting to the NBA after this surprising season he’s having, continued on his torrid pace. Even despite FSU basketball’s strong defensive effort, he still scored 23 points on 15 shot attempts.

Grayson Allen, on the other hand, was held in check. The student section berated him pretty mercilessly, so I have to give them some of the credit. The serial tripper finished with nine points on 2-of-6 shooting, and three turnovers on the night.

It was overall a fantastic team effort by the Seminoles, and pundits around the country continue to take notice of how good this team is.

Dec 28, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (22) to the basket against a Wake Forest Demon Deacon defender at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Florida State won 88-72. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 28, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (22) to the basket against a Wake Forest Demon Deacon defender at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Florida State won 88-72. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Player of the Game

Xavier Rathan-Mayes was fantastic tonight. He had 21 points overall, 18 of which came in the second half. He did it on an extremely tidy 7-for-13 shooting. XRM also had two three-pointers, three assists, and just one turnover. He’s grown up so much this year, and really learned what it is to be a point guard.

Most of you will remember that XRM was one of Allen’s first tripping victims last season. And if you had forgotten, well, XRM sure didn’t.

So happy for him that he came through in a game that he took personally.

XRM’s monster alley to Jonathan Isaac is what triggered Florida State’s extended run that put the game away.

With Bacon struggling (the announcers said he tweaked his knee in warm-ups), XRM’s second half explosion was much needed. I said that FSU basketball needed a big night from their point guard (at least 20), and he came through with 21. Love when predictions come through like that.

Bacon finished with 13 points, but it took him 15 shot attempts. He had five assists, but seven turnovers, and definitely looked a step slow. It wouldn’t surprise me if the knee injury story is legit. He likely won’t miss any time though, considering he logged 33 minutes anyways. But it’s definitely something to keep track of.

Dec 28, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Terrance Mann (14) scores against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Florida State won 88-72. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Reid Unsung Hero Award

Again, I struggled with who to name the unsung hero tonight. So many guys did little things that changed the outcome, and helped FSU pull away.

Terrance Mann, for one, continued his efficient play, scoring 13 points on just seven shot attempts. He also had seven rebounds, a whopping five of them coming on the offensive end. His little put-back buckets have to be absolutely deflating for teams who play Florida State. You do enough to force a miss against a really good offense, only to have Mann fly in out of nowhere to tip the misses back in. He’s special.

In the end though, I went with Jarquez Smith, for the second game in a row. Smith had eight points, five rebounds, an assist (which was one of the prettiest passes I’ve seen all season), and three huge blocks. He was flat-out great tonight. Smith led the bench in scoring, who as a whole scored 21 points. Duke, meanwhile, had just four off their bench.

Smith is having such a good season that coach Leonard Hamilton specifically singled him out after the game.

Keep it up, big man!

Highlights

Shout-out to the ACC Digital Network for providing us with the highlights of tonight’s action.

Jan 8, 2017; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Kennedy Meeks (3) reacts toward the end of the game. The Tea Heels defeated the Wolfpack 107-56 at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Up Next

The tough road continues for Florida State. On Saturday, they travel to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to face the UNC Tar Heels. The Heels are 14-3 on the season, and pulling out a win there will not be easy. But hey, neither was traveling to Virginia, or hosting Duke. Yet this team continues to exceed expectations, and won’t be stopping anytime soon.  At this point, we can confidently say the Seminoles are really freaking good. If you haven’t bought in by now, then what are you waiting for?

We’ll have a preview for UNC on game day, so for now, savor the victory, ‘Nole fans. FSU basketball is 16-1!

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