Frank Jackson steals Senior Night spotlight

Freshman leads Duke to home win over Florida State

Mark Dolejs—X02835
Feb 28

It was senior day at Cameron Indoor Stadium, but a freshman stole the show.Frank Jackson hit Duke’s first five shots of the second half and scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Blue Devils to a 75-70 win over Florida State. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Duke, but don’t tell coach Mike Krzyzewski that the Blue Devils were in a slump.”I don’t read a lot of papers, but there was something about us slumping,” Krzyzewski said. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Especially when we lost two games — we lost two one-possession games. We played our butts off. We won eight of our last ten. Our guys are playing great, fighting like crazy. Some days you don’t make that one-possession play, and our league is so unforgiving if you don’t make that play.”Jackson was the one making the plays against the Seminoles. Starting in place of Grayson Allen, who was limited to 16 minutes as he continues to recover from an ankle sprain, Jackson scored eight first-half points as the Blue Devils built an 11-point lead.Jackson then buried the Noles coming out of halftime. He outscored Florida State 13-5 in the first four and a half minutes of the second half, hitting a trio of 3-pointers, a jump shot and an acrobatic layup in a scoring explosion.”Well he is an attacker,” Krzyzewski said. “Frank is unbelievably talented and tough. Just the growth of a freshman, and you could see it at Miami. He just was different. He was better. Just like with Jayson (Tatum). I mean, Jayson has been good all year, but you could see in these last games, when we started winning, he was at another level, and that’s what’s happening with Frank.”Tatum, a fellow freshman, added 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists. It was Jackson, often overshadowed this year by the rest of the high-profile freshman class, who was in the spotlight against FSU.”I try to stay aggressive,” Jackson said. “I try to look for the open guy. I try to get to the basket. The basket was open tonight and I was able to attack and my teammates, they give me all the confidence in the world. I try to stay as aggressive as I can.”That’s my game. I can get to the basket and [the coaches] just tell me to be myself.”The Blue Devils fans said goodbye to seniors Amile Jefferson, who had 14 points on perfect 6-for-6 shooting, adding 11 rebounds, and Matt Jones, who finished with five points.Allen, a junior, may also leave for the NBA, and sophomore Luke Kennard, an ACC Player of the Year candidate, will also give strong consideration to leaving early. Allen scored just two points, while Kennard had 17 points with six rebounds.Freshmen Harry Giles, Marques Bolden and Tatum have been considered likely one-and-dones since arriving at Duke. That would leave Jackson as one of the few players on the floor for senior day who will be back next year.”Frank was unbelievable tonight,” Jefferson explained, “just playing so mature, being a veteran. Yes, it was Senior Night but we had guys play like seniors. That’s what we need. None of our guys are freshmen anymore. It’s February, so we’re all in together. We’re all players. Frank did that tonight and it was great.”