Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
No. 9 Florida State Handles No. 7 Duke for Seminoles’ 12th Straight Victory; Xavier Rathan-Mayes Exacts Revenge on Grayson Allen
By MIKE McCURRY
Three down, three to go for No. 9 Florida State.
The Seminoles, in the midst of a brutal six-game stretch all against ranked opponents, improved to 3-0 during this critical juncture after an 88-72 win over No. 7 Duke on Tuesday.
With the victory, Florida State has now won 12 consecutive games–a program record. It’s also the first time ever that FSU has started out 4-0 in ACC play.
Despite usual stud Dwayne Bacon’s off-night (13 points on 6-of-15 shooting and 7 turnovers), the Seminoles were able to cruise mainly thanks to Xavier Rathan-Mayes‘ 21 points and a collective defensive effort that limited Duke to just 0.96 points per trip–the Blue Devils’ lowest mark since a loss to Utah back in December of 2015.
Rathan-Mayes, who was tripped by Duke’s Grayson Allen on Feb. 25, 2016 in one of Allen’s tripping incidents, said he had been looking forward to seeing him again.
“This one was personal for me,” he said. “Ever since he did that, I’ve been waiting a long time to see him again. And it was good to finally see him again.”
Allen, playing in his first road game since his one-game suspension for his latest tripping incident, was booed every time he touched the ball.
“I don’t think what other people say or chant or do wears on him that much,” Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel said. “I mean the kid has been through a lot. He’s brought a lot of it on himself, but some it’s crazy.”
Florida State also got whatever it wanted down low, doubling up on Duke 56-28 in points in the paint.
Clearly, Duke’s interior defense suffered mightily from the absence of Amile Jefferson, who is out indefinitely due to a bone bruise in his right foot.
Luke Kennard did his thing once again, dropping 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting, but it was nowhere near enough as Duke dropped its fourth straight true road game dating back to last year.
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