Duke basketball still shows areas for concern in Florida State victory

Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

It was a victory for the Duke basketball team, but there are still flaws with the Blue Devils. 

In the penultimate game inside Cameron Indoor Stadium for Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, his No. 9 Blue Devils (23-4, 13-3 ACC) did not show up in the first half defensively on Saturday.

Florida State (14-12, 7-9 ACC), without Malik Osborne, Anthony Polite, Caleb Mills, Naheem McLeod, and Rayquan Evans, hung 41 points on Duke in the first half in an embarrassing showing on the defensive end.

However, the Blue Devils were lucky their offense came to play with 52 first-half points, and they tightened up their defense in the second half with a 88-70 victory.

All five starters scored at least ten points for Duke, led by 17 points from Paolo Banchero.

Banchero only had four points at halftime as he, along with Mark Williams, dealt with foul trouble in the opening stanza.

The hot shooting from Joey Baker was the biggest eye-opener with 12 points connecting on 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

Florida State stunned Duke in its first meeting, 79-78 in overtime, as Trevor Keels was injured in the second half of the loss.

Keels, who has been back on the floor for two weeks, went for 13 points, four rebounds, and eight assists on Saturday.

Duke basketball defense needs to stiffen

Duke only allowed 29 points in the second half to shorthanded Florida State, but its defense still must be better.

The Seminoles still shot 50.0-percent from the floor despite its struggles in the final 20 minutes.

The Blue Devils have shown flaws in different aspects of their game all season, but Saturday was the first time the defense has been brought into question.

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Healthy, and more potent, teams could have run Duke off the floor in the first half with its lazy and lackadaisical defense, and that is not a formula the Blue Devils want to put on the floor as March draws near.

Duke will have another chance at revenge with a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia on Wednesday night against the Virginia Cavaliers (17-10, 11-6 ACC) at 7:00 p.m. (ESPN).

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