Duke got its ACC schedule started on a high note, but if recent history is any indication, keeping that momentum going against Florida State won't be easy.
The seventh-ranked Blue Devils will be trying to beat the Seminoles for the first time in three meetings on Wednesday when the teams meet in Tallahassee, Fla.Duke (13-1, 1-0) cruised past Virginia 87-65 in its conference opener on Sunday, winning its third straight. The Blue Devils, who went a disappointing 8-8 in ACC play last season, shot 50.7 percent, never trailed, led by double figures for the entire second half, hit 11 3-pointers and shut down Virginia's perimeter game."This is the way we need to play," said guard Gerald Henderson, who scored 18 points.Duke's lone defeat came on Dec. 20 in a 65-64 overtime loss to Pittsburgh. The Blue Devils are outscoring their opponents by an average of 22.0 points, the third-best mark in the nation.However, Duke has struggled against Florida State (12-5, 1-1) over the last two seasons. The Seminoles won 68-67 at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 4 last season and 79-74 at home on March 1, 2006, handing Duke its first conference loss that season after 14 wins.The Blue Devils rank second in the ACC with 85.5 points per game and are hitting 40.2 percent of their 3-pointers -- also good for second in the conference. On Sunday, they managed to hold Virginia, a 40 percent 3-point shooting team, to just 4-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc.Duke also outrebounded the Cavaliers, who entered with a 12.4 per game advantage on the boards, 35-34."We're not this amazingly big team," Henderson said. "Sometimes we're out there with four or five guards, but if we get bodies on guys and shoot the basketball, we feel like we can beat anybody."DeMarcus Nelson, who leads Duke with 14.1 points per game, had 20 against Virginia. Nelson is shooting nearly 58 percent on 3-pointers in his last seven games."I thought we did not have one guy who didn't play hard and pretty well," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "That's really the first game that that's happened."The Seminoles lost 97-85 in two overtimes at Clemson on Saturday, failing to start 2-0 in the conference for just the second time since joining the league 16 years ago. Florida State won 66-64 at Georgia Tech on Dec. 30 in its ACC opener.Uche Echefu led the Seminoles with a career-high 24 points against the Tigers, while Toney Douglas, who leads the team with an average of 13.9 points, chipped in 16."There's no question that I thought our guys played with a tremendous amount of character, and I think they grew up a little," coach Leonard Hamilton said.Hamilton failed in his first try for his 300th career victory and his 100th win with the Seminoles. This time, however, Florida State will be back on its own court, where it is 9-0 this season and 39-6 since the start of the 2005-06 campaign."We've got Duke coming in on Wednesday, another perennial power, so we can't allow ourselves to have a pity party. ... We just have to come back now and regroup and not allow this loss to affect us in a negative way," Hamilton said.