No moral vic­to­ries

No. 1 Devils top Semi­noles on buzzer beater

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By Chaunte’l Pow­ell

TALLAHASSEE — After a crush­ing 80-78 loss Satur­day to No. 1 Duke on a last-sec­ond shot, Flor­ida State coach Leonard Hamil­ton didn’t want to get caught in talk about moral vic­to­ries.

“Ob­vi­ously they were ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed. And that’s pos­i­tive, be­cause they care about win­ning,” Hamil­ton said of his play­ers’ re­ac­tion to los­ing a thrilling game dur­ing which the two teams of­ten traded leads. “… I think we’re grow­ing and ma­tur­ing in some of those ar­eas. We’ve got to make sure we bounce back. We don’t want to take any moral vic­to­ries away. We had a chance and we got beat by a team that played a lit­tle bet­ter than we did.”

Still, there were a lot of

pos­i­tives the No. 13 Semi­noles (13-3, 1-2 ACC) could take away from the con­test. Mfiondu Kaben­gele was ag­gres­sive and fin­ished with a team-high 24 points and 10 re­bounds. Phil Cofer looked closer to his pre-in­jury form, fin­ish­ing with 21 points, in­clud­ing five 3-point­ers.

The Semi­noles have had dif­fer­ent play­ers step up this sea­son, and Kaben­gele said his mind­set en­ter­ing the Duke game al­lowed him to pro­duce.

“I pre­pared pretty well through­out the sea­son. I stay in the gym; I watched a lot of film on Duke. They’re a tal­ented team,” he said. “I be­lieve I had the right mind­set and my goal go­ing into ev­ery game is to just bring en­ergy and what­ever hap­pens, hap­pens.

I be­lieve I brought that to­day and my team­mates fed off it and we just couldn’t ex­e­cute down the stretch. But I’m happy with the en­ergy that we brought.”

FSU re­mained poised down the stretch, re­spond­ing to a 10-0 Duke run in the sec­ond half, tak­ing a late lead and over­all mak­ing things dif­fi­cult for the Blue Devils (14-1, 3-0) — with the ex­cep­tion of the fi­nal shot.

Mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion al­lowed Cam Red­dish to take a wide-open 3-pointer to win the game as time clicked away.

“They hit a backscreen, a cou­ple of our guys shifted and Cam came from the cor­ner and hit a good shot,” Kaben­gele said.

MICHAEL REAVES/GETTY IMAGES

Duke’s RJ Bar­rett shushes the rowdy FSU crowd Satur­day after the Blue Devils es­caped with an 80-78 vic­tory.

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