Af­ter first road game, No. 1 Duke to get a tougher test at No. 13 Florida State

The Herald Sun - - Sports - BY STEVEWISEMAN swise­[email protected]­sob­

Duke tech­ni­cally ex­pe­ri­enced a road en­vi­ron­ment while beat­ing Wake For­est, 87-65, last Tues­day night.

But the pres­ence of thou­sands of Blue Devils fans in at­ten­dance in Win­ston-Salem, along with the sad state of the De­mon Dea­cons pro­gram that curbed Wake fans’ en­thu­si­asm, made it far from a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment.

That will change on Sat­ur­day when No. 1 Duke plays No. 13 Florida State at the Tucker Cen­ter.

Duke’s few vet­er­ans have told the team’s four fresh­men starters to ex­pect things to be more dif­fi­cult against the Semi­noles.

“It was good for us to play an­other ACC op­po­nent in their venue,” Duke ju­nior for­ward Javin DeLau­rier said. “But at the same time we told our guys that’s not re­ally what the ACC is all about. When we go down there on Sat­ur­day, it’s prob­a­bly

go­ing to be a lot more hos­tile. I think we were pretty for­tu­nate we had a good show­ing of Duke blue in the stands on Tues­day. It’s go­ing to be a bit of a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal.”

The Semi­noles (13-2, 1-1 in ACC) made the NCAA tour­na­ment’s elite eight last sea­son. That’s also as far as Duke ad­vanced. Leonard Hamil­ton is coach­ing in his 17th sea­son at FSU. Only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski has coached more con­sec­u­tive sea­sons in the ACC among ac­tive coaches.

The Blue Devils (13-1, 2-0 in ACC) carry an eight-game win­ning streak into the game. This is Duke’s fifth game against a team ranked in the top 25 at game time. The Blue Devils have won three of their first four.

Here are some items to watch as the Semi­noles meet the Blue Devils:


As a self-de­scribed ru­ral South­erner, DeLau­rier is a firm be­liever in su­per­sti­tions. He’d rather it not be dis­cussed that he’s ap­proach­ing an ACC record that’s stood for 30 years.

The 6-10 for­ward from Ship­man, Va., has made his last 18 con­sec­u­tive shots cov­er­ing six games. The league record for con­sec­u­tive field goal at­tempts made is held by Duke’s Alaa Ab­delnaby, who made 20 shots in a row dur­ing the 1988-89 sea­son.

DeLau­rier’s last miss came with 7:44 re­main­ing in Duke’s 113-49 blast­ing of Stet­son on Dec. 1 at Cameron In­door Sta­dium. He made all five shots four nights later when the Blue Devils beat Hart­ford 84-54 and has kept his streak alive over five more games.

Any men­tion of the streak has DeLau­rier scram­bling to knock on wood while shak­ing his head “No!”

DeLau­rier is a per­fect 5-for-5 in ACC play, mak­ing two shots last Sat­ur­day against Clem­son and three more on Tues­day night at Wake For­est. He’s made 30 of 34 shots this sea­son (88 per­cent).


Duke’s abil­ity to block shots and steal the bas­ket­ball have al­lowed it over­whelm most of its op­po­nents.

That may be harder to achieve against the Semi­noles.

The Blue Devils blocked 13 shots at Wake For­est, a Joel Coli­seum record and the most ever by a Wake For­est op­po­nent. Ac­cord­ing to Ken Pomeroy’s sta­tis­tics, Duke has blocked 19.5 per­cent of its op­po­nent’s shots. That’s about one of ev­ery five shots and is good for No. 2 in the coun­try.

With 6-10 Mfiondu Kaben­gele and 7-4 Christ Koumadje, Florida State boasts a tall, strong front line. Op­po­nents have blocked only 8.1 per­cent of FSU’s shots this sea­son.

Duke is also adept at steals, end­ing the op­po­si­tion’s pos­ses­sion via a steal 14.7 per­cent of the team. That’s No. 1 in the na­tion, ac­cord­ing to Ken­Pom.

FSU’s of­fen­sive pos­ses­sions have ended in a steal only 7.8 per­cent of time, good for 70th in the coun­try.

So if Duke con­tin­ues to col­lect blocks and steals in this one, it’s a good sign the Blue Devils are on their way to victory.


The Blue Devils’ over­all shoot­ing per­cent­age (49.8 per­cent) is bet­ter than Florida State’s 46 per­cent. Duke has made 59.8 per­cent of its two-point shot at­tempts, which is No. 3 in the coun­try.

ZionWil­liamson and R.J. Bar­rett’s abil­ity to get to the rim and score is elite. As men­tioned ear­lier, DeLau­rier is also do­ing his part.

It’s the jump shoot­ing, par­tic­u­larly be­yond the 3-point line, that’s been a strug­gle for the Blue Devils. Duke has made 32.2 per­cent of its 3-point­ers. That’s 245th in the coun­try.

Duke made 7 of 23 3point­ers against Wake For­est on Tues­day night. But the Blue Devils only at­tempted eight of those shots in the sec­ond half when they used shots in the lane to pull away from the De­mon Dea­cons.

Florida State’s tall front line could mean Duke has to re­sort to jump shoot­ing, which could be a prob­lem for the Blue Devils. It’s up to point guard Tre Jones, along with Wil­liamson and Bar­rett, to help Duke get open shots in­side.


Duke's Javin DeLau­rier blocks a shot by Wake For­est's Torry John­son on Tues­day. Duke beat Wake in its first true road game of the sea­son.

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