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March 1, 2006

Seminoles upset No. 1 Duke, 79-74

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Alexander Johnson wasn't around for the finish of Florida State's one-point overtime loss to Duke earlier this season.

On Wednesday night, most of the Duke players weren't near the court when the Seminoles beat the top-ranked Blue Devils 79-74.

Florida State fans prematurely stormed the court with 1.7 seconds left to play, but that only delayed the final buzzer that signaled the Seminoles' second win over No. 1 Duke in three years.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had his team - except the five in the game - taken to the locker room before Al Thornton took the final free throws although 1.7 seconds remained on the clock. He said he feared for his players safety.

"I would think that security is not ready for that type of thing," Krzyzewski said. "We weren't going to win the basketball game, the game was basically over, so why put those kids in harm's way?"

He said that saying anything more about it would be misinterpreted.

"It's an unfortunate situation and let the powers to be handle it ... in front of everybody, though, not behind closed doors," he said.

J.J. Redick was 10-for-28 from the field and had 30 points for Duke (27-2, 14-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), while Shelden Williams had 20 points.

Johnson, who broke the game's final tie on Wednesday, said he wasn't thinking about what happened when Florida State (18-8, 8-7) played at Duke on Feb. 4. In that game he was sent to the bench with his fifth foul, a technical, in the second half.

The ACC later determined the technical against Johnson, called after he was bumped by Williams, who also got a technical, was a mistake and suspended the three-man officiating crew for one game.

"I just played ball because I didn't want to think about that," Alexander said. "I kind of let that stay in the past, never looked back at it."

His basket, over Williams, with 1:06 left gave the Seminoles a 74-72 lead.

Johnson said he was afraid that if he did dwell on the last game, he would have gotten too physical.

"I would have got some cheap fouls trying to aggressive against Shelden Williams so I kind of relaxed and let my game come to me," said Johnson, who finished with 22 points.

It was Williams who was in foul trouble Wednesday night. He fouled out with 27 seconds left to send Johnson to the line where he made two free throws to put the Seminoles up 76-72.

Fans came onto the floor with Florida State ahead 77-72. The floor was cleared and Duke was awarded two free throws on a technical foul against Florida State for its players leaving the bench area.

Redick made the foul shots to make it a three-point game, but Thornton, who was fouled as the premature celebration began, made two free throws for the final margin.

The loss ended the run at an unbeaten ACC season for Duke (27-2, 14-1), which finishes the regular season Saturday night at home against North Carolina.

Thornton had 26 points for Florida State, which beat top-ranked Duke 77-76 on Jan. 6, 2003, also in Tallahassee.

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said Duke brings the kind of excitement that causes fans to rush the court after a victory.

"This is uncharted waters for us," Hamilton said. "I'm sure that in the future we'll try to win games by a little larger margin."

The score was tied five times and there were four lead changes. Duke took its first lead in the second half at 43-42 on a dunk by Williams and built the lead to seven points.

Duke went on an 11-5 run at the end of the first half to cut its deficit to 36-33. Redick accounted for eight points in the run with his first two 3-pointers of the game and two free throws.

For more coverage of the Duke Blue Devils, check out DevilsIllustrated.com.
For more coverage of the Florida State Seminoles, check out Warchant.com.


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