Florida Gulf Coast-Duke Preview
Duke passed its first true test of the season, beating one of the best teams in the country its last time out.
A matchup against Florida Gulf Coast doesn't figure to present much of a challenge.
The No. 9 Blue Devils host the Eagles looking to set a school record for consecutive non-conference home wins Sunday night in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
After defeating Georgia State 74-55 in its season opener, Duke (2-0) pulled out a 75-68 victory over No. 3 Kentucky on Tuesday at the Georgia Dome. Seth Curry led the way with 23 points, scoring 10 of the team's final 15.
"That's what we worked on during the preseason - taking control of the team, having it be our team," said Curry, who hit 3 of 5 from 3-point range. "I had it going, so they came to me."
Fellow seniors Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly added 18 and 10 points, respectively.
"It was certainly an NCAA tournament type atmosphere, to get that experience early in the year is always good," Kelly said. "It was a test for us. It was great to win but we gotta grow from it. ... The bottom line is we want to win championships. We can take things from this game and build on them."
The Blue Devils shouldn't have a hard time versus Florida Gulf Coast (2-1) if their 95-game home winning streak against non-conference foes is any indication. Duke has outscored opponents by an average of 27.1 points during that run, last falling 83-82 to St. John's on Feb. 26, 2000.
The Blue Devils also have won 19 consecutive regular-season tournament games. They'll continue this event in the Bahamas next week with three potentially difficult games in three days, starting Thursday against unbeaten Minnesota.
First, Duke faces the Eagles for the first time, having won nine in a row against current Atlantic Sun Conference schools.
Two nights after beating Miami 63-51 for its second win over a program from a major conference, Florida Gulf Coast cruised past Ave Maria of the NAIA 86-54 on Thursday.
Christophe Varidel scored a game-high 17 points off the bench for the Eagles, who shot 11 of 19 from 3-point range. However, they committed 18 turnovers and are averaging 20.3 through three games.
"I was happy with the way we played tonight, but there were some stretches where we got lazy and turned the ball over a little bit," coach Andy Enfield told the school's official website. "... I thought we executed better in the second half as we will now get ready for Duke on Sunday."
Florida Gulf Coast has never beaten a ranked program in seven tries, losing by an average of 25.7 points. It most recently fell 83-55 at then-No. 2 Ohio State on Dec. 15, 2010.
The Blue Devils, who shot an ACC-best 37.1 percent from 3-point range last season, have made 19 of 42 (45.2 percent) thus far. They are looking to open 3-0 for the 13th consecutive season.