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Duke Basketball: 5 Takeaways from the Win over Florida State

Trevon Duval Duke
© Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Duke basketball team earned its first conference win of the season on Saturday with a hard-fought 100-93 victory over Florida State at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

It was a thrilling contest between two of the highest scoring teams in the country and Duke closed the game on a 9-0 run to move its record to 13-1 on the season. The Blue Devils are now 1-1 in the ACC.

Here are five takeaways from the win.

  1. More Practice Time Didn’t Improve Duke’s Defense
    Mike Krzyzewski talked earlier in the season about how Duke’s defensive woes could be partly attributed to the lack of practice time due to a demanding game schedule. However, despite only playing once over the past three weeks, today’s performance wasn’t an indication that Duke was able to develop better defensive habits in practice over the past month. Florida State nearly pulled off the upset by shooting 15-of-32 from three-point range and the Blue Devils were regularly exposed in their woeful man-to-man defense.

2. Duke Needs to Remember that Marvin Bagley is Unstoppable
Marvin Bagley III continued to make his case for every National Player of the Year award and potential top spot in the 2018 NBA Draft with another dominant performance on Saturday. The 6’11” freshman finished with 32 points and 23 rebounds in 39 minutes, which included playing down the stretch with four fouls, as did all of Duke’s freshman starters. Bagley had 17 shots and 11 free throw attempts (he made 5 free throws) and the team needs to remember to keep him extremely involved in the offense as he’s simply unstoppable when he gets the ball in the paint. There are times when Duke settles for jump shots or doesn’t find the right guy on offense. When in doubt, get it to MBIII.

3. Florida State is a Contender in the ACC
If Florida State can consistently compete the way it did in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, the Seminoles will be a major factor in the ACC this season. The league opener against Duke kicks off a crucial four game start to the conference season for the Noles, which will face UNC, Miami and Louisville over the next three games. Phil Cofer, Braian Angola, and Terance Mann give Leonard Hamilton a talented trio of upperclassmen and they should use Saturday’s experience as a reminder that they’re capable of competing with any team in the country.

4. Free Throws Could Cost Duke in a Big Way
For being one of the best offensive teams in the country, it’s amazing how many points Duke leaves on the free throw line. The Blue Devils were 14-of-25 from the charity stripe on Saturday for 56%, with Marvin Bagley & Wendell Carter going a combined 7-of-17. It’ll be interesting to see if teams elect to use some type of Hack-a-Bagley/Carter strategy and take advantage of Duke’s struggles from the line. With how Duke has executed down the stretch in close games this season, it might be your best chance at success.

5. Trevon Duval was Clutch Down the Stretch
For the first 34 minutes of the game, Trevon Duval showed all the flaws that made people question whether Duke could count on him as its primary point guard this season. He was out of control on offense, committed bad fouls, and couldn’t hit an outside shot. But the freshman was outstanding down the stretch, scoring nine points in the final five minutes and assisting on two others with beautiful passes to Wendell Carter for dunks. It can be a roller coaster experience with Duval, but his play in the closing minutes on Saturday showed why he’s still a likely lottery pick.
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Next Game: @ N.C. State – Saturday, January 6