When Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski put Trevon Duval back into the game against Florida State after the freshman point guard picked up his fourth foul, Krzyzewski told Duval he had to play as if he had no fouls.
There were 10 minutes left in the game, and the Blue Devils were in a back-and-forth game with the Seminoles. Prior to that, Duval had been timid after picking up his first two fouls. He appeared as if he was trying not to pick up another.
But when Duke needed him, he stepped up in the No. 4 Blue Devils’ (13-1, 1-1 ACC) 100-93 win over No. 24 Florida State on Saturday.
“When I got in there, I just knew it was time to go,” Duval said. “It was a close game, and I needed to do whatever I needed to do to help the team win.”
During the game’s most crucial moments Duval was at his best. He was responsible for 13 of Duke’s final 16 points over the last five minutes of the game. He had nine points and two assists during that stretch.
Duval finished with 16 points and four assists.
“At the last three minutes or so, I think he really helped win the game for us,” Krzyzewski said.
Florida State (11-2, 0-1) had been good all game. Senior forward Phil Cofer hit 11 of his first 12 shots, including six of his first seven 3-pointers. His 22 first-half points was a career-high. He finished with 28 points.
Cofer missed his last four shots, but that was also around the time senior guard Braian Agola started knocking down his shots. Agola finished with 23 points and eight rebounds.
The Seminoles led by two points with 2:30 left in the game.
But Duke dominated on the glass. Freshmen forwards Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. outrebounded Florida State all by themselves. The two combined for 37 rebounds, while the Seminoles had 35. Duke as a team had 53 rebounds.
Bagley (32 points and 21 rebounds) and Carter (14 points and 16 rebounds) were responsible for most of Duke’s 28 second-chance points.
“I think that’s just heart,” Bagley said. “Just the will, when you see the ball bounce off the rim, just to fight, do whatever you got to do to get up there and get it for your team.”
“I see it as a heart thing. You really can’t teach it. You just got to play.”
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said he thought that was the key to the game. He said his team did not have an answer for Bagley and Carter on the glass.
“When you have two guys like that, they make up for mistakes,” Hamilton said. “That made a huge difference in the game.”
Krzyzewski said Saturday’s win over Florida State was a “sensational win” for his young players. His four top freshman all had four fouls and still managed to defend, especially down the final stretch.
Florida State missed its final eight shots of the game, including a few desperation 3-pointers during the last few seconds.
“I hope it shows them that we believe in them and that we expect them to play older than they are and to handle it,” Krzyzewski said. “Both teams were very difficult to defend, because it wasn’t just one or two guys. Guys were on.”
“Guys were playing hard.”
Duke next plays against N.C. State (10-4, 0-1) at PNC Arena on Jan. 6.