TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Cam Reddish had struggled for more than a month, searching for any kind of consistency with his shot.
With Zion Williamson on the bench in the second half and suffering from double vision after getting poked in the eye, Reddish made all the shots on Saturday — including the game-winner.
The freshman forward hit a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to lead No. 1 Duke past No. 13 Florida State, 80-78 on Saturday.
Reddish caught the ball on the wing off the inbounds pass and made a wide-open 3-pointer to ensure that Duke (14-1, 3-0 ACC) would win its ninth straight game. Two freshmen carried the load for Duke as RJ Barrett scored 32 points on 10 of 19 shooting and Reddish finished with 23 points on 9 of 15 shooting.
“It was great,” said Reddish, who scored 16 second-half points. “I was working really hard to get back to who I was. Trusting God. Praying every day to be who I was. It was a big shot for us. My coaches and teammates have helped me with my confidence. I’m glad I made the shot.”
It was a clutch shot at a critical moment for Duke, which hasn’t had many close games this season and has won 13 of 14 games by 10 or more points. The Blue Devils have just one loss, 89-87 to No. 5 Gonzaga on a neutral court.
Duke was certainly on the ropes on Saturday, especially playing in the second half without Zion Williamson. The star freshman left the game after getting poked in the eye late in the first half. He didn’t return and had 11 points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski wasn’t sure what to expect from the Blue Devils, who were without one of their top players and were facing a top-15 team on the road. Barrett and Reddish “kept us in it,” Krzyzewski said.
“They rose,” Krzyzewski said. “They rose to the different occasion. An occasion that we hadn’t been in this year.”
Florida State nearly pulled off an upset, which would have matched what happened eight years ago. The Seminoles knocked off No. 1 Duke 66-61 on Jan. 12, 2011. And this time they fell just short.
“Coming close just doesn’t count,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Maybe it does in horseshoes but not in basketball.”
P.J. Savoy made a pair of free throws with 15.8 seconds left, just seconds after forcing a turnover, to put Florida State ahead 78-76.
Barrett, who had 19 second-half points, then hit the first of two free throws with five seconds left. He missed the second, but the Blue Devils retained possession after a review overruled a call on the floor that the ball had gone out of bounds of a Duke player setting up Reddish’s shot.
Mfiondu Kabengele came off the bench to record his third career double-double, tying a career-high with 24 points and 10 rebounds for Florida State (13-3, 1-2). Phil Cofer made five 3-pointers and had a season-high 21 points.
“We had a chance there at the end,” Hamilton said. “We basically got the things that we were looking for, we just came up a little short . Duke is the kind of team that can win it all. They have all of the ingredients. And they are going to continue to get better. That’s a scary thought.”
Williamson got hurt when he drove to the basket. Florida State’s Trent Forrest hit the freshman in the face and Williamson landed hard on the court. He stayed down for several moments covering his face. He saw a trainer and went to the locker room just before the half ended. Williamson sat on the bench for the second half, but didn’t play.
He suffered from double vision and sat on the bench in the second half but Krzyzewski said it’s possible that Williamson will play in Duke’s next game against Syracuse.
“The good thing – he didn’t have headaches,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s better now. So hopefully he’ll be able to play on Monday. . It was a big loss. For this game, are you kidding, especially with the athleticism we’re facing?”
HOME RUN ENDS
Florida State lost for the first time in nine home games this season. The Seminoles are 39-3 since November 2016 at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Duke likely will remain the No. 1 team in the nation. Florida State could slip a little but is also deserving of holding on to its top-15 ranking.
Duke: The Blue Devils were on the ropes but pulled out a road victory in a tough environment, doing it without Williamson. Duke is 4-1 vs. top-15 opponents this season.
Florida State: The Seminoles missed out on their fifth win over a top-ranked team.