for this game

No. 8 Duke holds off Florida State 70-56

Jan 28, 2010 - 5:15 AM By JOEDY McCREARY AP Sports Writer

DURHAM, N.C.(AP) -- Kyle Singler and No. 8 Duke got rolling just in time to pull out a close game - or, at least, what passes for one these days at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Singler scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half and the Blue Devils pulled away late to beat Florida State 70-56 on Wednesday night.

Jon Scheyer had 22 points for the Blue Devils (17-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 43 percent against the nation's toughest field-goal percentage defense and forced 22 turnovers. But they needed a late 15-4 run to seal their 14th straight win at Cameron.

"It wasn't really a pretty game," Singler said. "We had to grind it out, and we just made plays at the end."

Solomon Alabi had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Chris Singleton added 14 points for the Seminoles (15-5, 3-3). They outrebounded the Blue Devils 40-30 and held them without a field goal for more than six minutes to erase most of a 16-point deficit, but ultimately were denied their second straight victory against a Top 25 opponent.

"I felt like we are the better team," Singleton said. "They have a lot of talent, and we have a lot of talent. Tonight, we showed that we're a good team, but we need to put it all together."

Singleton made things interesting late, hitting a free throw to make it 51-47 with 8:56 left, and the Seminoles then had a stretch in which they missed several free throws, got the rebounds - and then couldn't do anything with them.

Eventually, the Blue Devils pulled away down the stretch with seven straight points.

"They made a big run, they had some big rebounds and key plays," Scheyer said. "Everything's not going to go our way, so when it doesn't we just try to respond, and I thought we came out with a couple big shots and a couple stops."

Scheyer hit a 19-footer, Brian Zoubek added a stickback and Singler knocked down a 3-pointer with 5:45 remaining to get the decisive run rolling and restore Duke's double-figure lead.

It wasn't until then that the Blue Devils were assured of extending a few streaks at Cameron. They claimed their 39th straight victory there against unranked opponents - a string that dates to the Seminoles' win in February 2007 - and improved to 12-0 this season at home, winning 10 of those by at least 20 points. Before this one, their average margin of victory here was more than 30 points.

At least there's one thing Florida State can take solace in: The only team to keep things this tight in this arena was St. John's, an 80-71 loser in December.

"They're playing the best basketball in the ACC," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said of Duke. "They're playing with a level of maturity that we have not grown to yet. ... They played like a very mature, junior-senior team, and at times, we played like a freshman-sophomore team."

For a while, this one was shaping up as yet another blowout for the Blue Devils, who seemingly took control early in the second half. A 12-2 spurt, capped by Singler's free throw with 13:55 left, gave them a 51-35 lead.

But a scoreless drought of nearly six minutes allowed Florida State to creep back into the game. The Seminoles reeled off 12 straight points - nine by freshman reserve Michael Snaer - to make it a four-point game late.

Worse for the Blue Devils, Florida State was simply outhustling them. The Seminoles missed three straight foul shots in 20 seconds - two by Singleton - and beat Duke to all those rebounds, but couldn't turn them into baskets.

"I need to just lock in and make my free throws," Singleton said. "We still would have had the momentum, and then when we went back on defense, I'm pretty sure we would have gotten another stop. ... After that, they got the momentum back and got the crowd involved. We couldn't do anything after that."

Snaer finished with 13 points and Derwin Kitchen had 10 assists for Florida State, which was coming off a 68-66 victory three days earlier against then-No. 19 Georgia Tech.

Nolan Smith scored 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting for Duke, which led for all of about three minutes of this one despite scoring runs proving hard to come by against a defense that allows teams to shoot just 35.5 percent.

Florida State had more turnovers (14) than field goals (13) at halftime, while Scheyer had 13 points in the opening 20 minutes. But it wasn't until there were 70 seconds before the break that the Blue Devils claimed their first double-figure lead. Singler rattled in a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 37-27.

But the Seminoles had Alabi, and that meant they still had a chance. The 7-footer showed his dominance during one memorable sequence midway through the half, blocking Scheyer's layup attempt and then beating everybody back downcourt for a layup.

"They're huge and wide and they can move their feet, and ... half court, the court's small," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "When (the 6-9) Singleton's your third-smallest guy and Alabi's a load inside, they're just a good basketball team. Our team had to show great resolve."