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January 27, 2010

No. 8 Duke holds off Florida State 70-56

Jon Scheyer scored 22 points, Kyle Singler added 20 and No. 8 Duke held off Florida State 70-56 on Wednesday night.

The Blue Devils (17-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) shot 43 percent against the nation's toughest field-goal percentage defense and forced 22 turnovers but needed a late 15-4 run to seal their 14th straight win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Solomon Alabi had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Chris Singleton added 14 points for the Seminoles (15-5, 3-3). They outrebounded the Blue Devils 40-30 and held them without a field goal for more than six minutes to erase most of a 16-point deficit, but were denied their second straight victory against a Top 25 opponent.

Singleton made things interesting late, hitting a free throw to make it 51-47 with 8:56 left, before the Blue Devils pulled away down the stretch with seven straight points.

Scheyer hit a 19-footer, Brian Zoubek added a stickback and Singler knocked down a 3-pointer with 5:45 remaining to get the decisive run rolling and restore Duke's double-figure lead.

It wasn't until then that the Blue Devils were assured of extending a few streaks at Cameron. They claimed their 39th straight victory there against unranked opponents-a string that dates to the Seminoles' win in February 2007 - and improved to 12-0 this season at home, winning 10 of those by at least 20 points.

At least Florida State can take solace in this: The only team to keep things this tight against Duke here was St. John's, an 80-71 loser in December.

For a while, though, this one was shaping up as yet another blowout for the Blue Devils, who seemingly took control early in the second half. A 12-2 spurt gave them a 51-35 lead on Singler's free throw with 13:55 left.

But a scoreless drought of nearly six minutes allowed Florida State to creep back into the game. The Seminoles reeled off 12 straight points-nine by freshman reserve Michael Snaer-to make it a four-point game late.

Worse for the Blue Devils, Florida State was simply outhustling them, with the Seminoles missing three straight foul shots in 20 seconds-and beating Duke to all those rebounds but having trouble converting them into points.

Nolan Smith finished with 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting for Duke, which led for all of about three minutes of this one despite scoring runs proving hard to come by against a defense that allows teams to shoot just 35.5 percent.

Florida State had more turnovers (14) than field goals (13) at halftime, while Scheyer had 13 points in the opening 20 minutes. But it wasn't until there were 70 seconds before the break that the Blue Devils took their first double-figure lead. Singler rattled in a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 37-27.

But the Seminoles had Alabi, and that meant they still had a chance. The 7-footer showed his dominance during one memorable sequence midway through the half, blocking Scheyer's layup attempt and then beating everybody back downcourt for a layup.

Snaer finished with 13 points for Florida State, which was coming off a 68-66 victory three days earlier against then-No. 19 Georgia Tech.


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