No. 9 Florida State picked up a program-record 12th straight victory Tuesday night with an 88-72 win over No. 7 Duke at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, Florida.
Led by Xavier Rathan-Mayes' 21 points, the Seminoles had four scorers in double digits, as Dwayne Bacon and Terance Mann added 13 apiece and Jonathan Isaac had 11.
The bench also came up huge, outscoring the Blue Devils bench 21-4.
Florida State entered Tuesday night just 9-35 all time against Duke, but it had won all of its 11 games at home this season and already taken care of three Top 25 programs.
The Devils, on the other hand, were spread thin without star big man Amile Jefferson, who was out with a foot injury, and the lack of depth had a profound effect on their performance.
Luke Kennard and Jayson Tatum recorded 23 and 21 points, respectively, but the dearth of options and firepower left Duke reeling late.
The Seminoles' big men helped wear the Devils down, scoring 56 points in the paint. On top of that, Florida State's aggressive offensive play put Duke in early foul trouble.
With the game just eight-and-a-half minutes old, both Harry Giles and Chase Jeter had two fouls apiece. But Kennard, Matt Jones and Co. started hot from the floor, and the Blue Devils hung with the Noles, even taking a 23-20 lead at the 9:10 mark of the first half.
Duke ran out of gas, though, and finished the game shooting just 41.1 percent.
With 8:48 to play in the first half, Florida State reeled off 10 straight points on the back of PJ Savoy.
Behind two three-pointers by the sharpshooter—who put up 11 points in seven minutes against Virginia Tech on Saturday—the Seminoles took a 30-23 lead. Savoy's shooting gave Jordan Culver of the Tallahassee Democrat some ideas about how FSU should run its offense:
Jordan Culver @JordanCulver
New strategy: Let PJ Savoy shoot. All day. #FSU1/11/2017, 1:40:30 AM
The Blue Devils tied the game shortly before halftime and took a two-point lead with 15 minutes to play in the second half, but Florida State sprung another 10-0 run to take an eight-point lead with 12:19 to go while forcing the visitors to try to calm things down, as Duke Basketball insinuated on Twitter:
Duke Basketball @DukeMBB
https://t.co/FrwZFPCHVv1/11/2017, 2:29:44 AM
But the Seminoles continued to dominate the Devils' interior defense and built a 14-point lead with 6:25 remaining.
Duke has lost two of its last four games with a matchup against No. 14 Louisville looming Saturday.
Florida State has put together some impressive wins this season, but this was one of its best.
It won't have much time to enjoy it, though, considering it's in the thick of its toughest stretch of the season. On Saturday, the Seminoles will visit No. 11 North Carolina—their fourth of six straight games against ranked opponents. They host No. 20 Notre Dame and the No. 14 Cardinals next week.
With the way Florida State has handled some of the nation's best teams, it's time to start taking the 16-1 Seminoles seriously.
It's the first time Florida State is 4-0 in ACC play, but head coach Leonard Hamilton didn't get too excited about it.
"We're not trying to be philosophical on where we are right now," Hamilton said after the game, per Safid Deen of the Orlando Sentinel. "We're 4-0 in the ACC but don't want to get drunk on our success."
He added: "We're trying to take this one game at a time and not trying to get too caught up in the moment."
It was a rough debut for Duke acting head coach Jeff Capel, who stepped in for Mike Krzyzewski after the head coach underwent back surgery Friday.
Capel wasn't happy with his team's effort near the basket, per Joe Reedy of the Associated Press:
Joe Reedy @joereedy
Duke's Capel: "They made a living in the paint and we have to do a better job with that."1/11/2017, 3:25:58 AM
The Blue Devils will have to shape up if they want to maintain the program's standing in 2017.