Florida State-Duke Report Card
ATLANTA --- The Florida State Seminoles reached the ACC Tournament title game for the second time in four seasons by knocking off Duke 62-59 in the semifinals Saturday at Philips Arena.
FSU got a clutch jumper from graduate student and point guard Luke Loucks before the Noles were able to keep the Blue Devils from typing it with a 3-pointer. Duke’s Seth Curry just barely missed a heave from near midcourt just before the clock expired that would have sent the game into overtime.
FSU moves on to face North Carolina in the title game at 1 p.m.
The Seminoles routed UNC 90-57 in January in the only meeting between the teams. It’s safe to say the game will be more competitive Sunday.
Florida State improved to 23-9 with the victory while Duke dropped to 27-6.
Here are both teams’ grades for their performances Saturday afternoon:
FSU offense: Bernard James and Michael Snaer did enough damage on offense with some help from Loucks and Okaro White to overcome a so-so team effort with the ball. FSU converted 42.1 percent of its shots overall, including 27.3 percent from 3-point range. This game wasn’t so much about offensive fluidity as it was grit, will, and fight. Grade: C.
Duke offense: Going up against the Seminoles’ terrific defense is never easy, and it was less so with 6-foot-10 forward Ryan Kelly out with a foot injury. Duke gets little lateral movement without Kelly on the floor, and it led to quite a few stagnant possessions. That’s one reason Duke made just 37.3 percent of its field goal attempts overall from the floor, which includes going 5-for-20 (25 percent) from 3-point range. Duke had just 7 assists and 16 turnovers. Grade: C-.
FSU defense: As always, excellent. FSU allowed three fewer offensive rebounds than it had, forced Austin Rivers into a pedestrian 5-for-14 from the floor (17 points) and never let Duke go off from the perimeter, as the Blue Devils converted only 25 percent of their 20 three balls. FSU also scouted well what Duke would run late and stopped it. Grade: A.
Duke defense: Duke has improved defensively more than any area over the last six weeks, and it was pretty darn good Saturday. It limited FSU to 3-for-11 from the perimeter and just five second-chance points. The Devils forced one more turnover (14) than FSU had assists. Grade: B+.
FSU intangibles: Effort, focus, sticking to a defensive game plan, and will are areas FSU usually grades out well. It could have executed better, but overall, the Seminoles did a nice job of making Duke the chaser. FSU looked like the better team. Grade: A.
Duke intangibles: That the Devils had a chance to win with the last shot given Kelly was out, Rivers was off, Andre Dawkins disappeared two weeks ago, and the Plumlees did very little inside offensively says a lot about how this club fights and claws. Grade: A.