No. 1 Duke preps for true road test in Tallahassee
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Top-ranked Duke is gaining confidence, and that's a good thing for the Blue Devils.
They might need all the sources clicking in Saturday afternoon's Atlantic Coast Conference game against No. 13 Florida State at the Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla.
Freshman forward Cam Reddish reached double figures for only the second time in six games when Duke played earlier this week at Wake Forest.
That was a sign of progress for the Blue Devils (13-1, 2-0 ACC).
"When a young kid hasn't played to the level he thinks he can play at, he gets down on himself a little bit," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "When he hit the 3 to end the first half, it was a big shot, both for him and his confidence and for us as a team."
Reddish finished with 10 points. He wasn't the only one showing a perimeter touch because freshman forward Zion Williamson racked up 30 points, bolstered by 3-for-4 shooting from 3-pointers.
Williamson entered the game 4-for-21 on 3-point attempts this season.
"At first, I was like if it's not falling, then I'm not going to shot it," Williamson said. "Not only coach, but the assistant coaches and my teammates, even when I miss, tell me to keep shooting and that I can make it."
Don't expect Duke to resort to 3-point shooting.
The Blue Devils took only eight long-range shots in the second half of the 87-65 triumph at Wake Forest, using 17-for-23 second-half shooting from 2-point range to lock down that result.
For Florida State (13-2, 1-1), this is the second game in an eight-day span against a top-4 team after opening ACC play last weekend with a loss at undefeated Virginia.
So it's really about getting used to these situations.
"We have to just be who we are is what I want to see," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We're not going to change anything. That's one thing about the ACC. We have the No. 1 team coming in to play us on Saturday so you can say this is a big game, but every night you have an ACC opponent it's going to be a big game. There's going to be a big opponent and you have to redirect that.
"It's Duke this week, next week it's going to be somebody else who might not be quite as talented as Duke but they're going to be a big game for us."
Duke is bound to draw a crowd, but Hamilton said he doesn't want to dwell on the atmosphere.
"We can't get caught up in anything else," he said. "I'm glad that our fans are excited. I hope they're excited about coming to see FSU."
Florida State pulled out a 68-62 victory against visiting Miami on Wednesday night.
"It's one of those games we look back at the end of the season and we're glad we won it," Hamilton said. "I still think we are fortunate to be where we are while we continue to keep trying to improve and get better and hopefully, we continue to keep winning while we develop."
For Duke, the game at Florida State could be different on several levels. It will be the first true road game out of state. The environment will differ from the one at Wake Forest, where several thousand Duke fans were in the building.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 10, 2019