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Henderson lifts Duke past Florida State

Mar 4, 2009 - 7:22 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Gerald Henderson scored 21 points and made just enough key plays down the stretch to lead No. 7 Duke to an 84-81 victory over 24th-ranked Florida State on Tuesday.

Henderson made two free throws with a minute to play and converted a three-point play with 34 seconds left to help the Blue Devils overcome a 40-34 halftime deficit.

Kyle Singler scored 20 points and Jon Scheyer added 17 for Duke (25-5, 11-4 ACC), which has reeled off five straight wins.

"To be down by six was good at halftime, the way it was going," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "In the second half, I thought we played well the whole 20 minutes. We had to fight for every possession. A number of kids had big plays, and we kept our turnovers down. This was the fourth straight game with single-digit turnovers. It's just a big win for us, a big win."

Toney Douglas scored 27 points for Florida State (22-8, 9-6).

""I can't say enough about Toney Douglas. Toney is the best defensive guard I have ever coached in my whole coaching career and to be our leading scorer, to be the guy who makes the shots when the game is on the line," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I think one thing that separates Toney from a lot of people is that he's taken a team with six first-year players that was picked to finish somewhere near the bottom of the league, and he has led them into a very competitive team."

Douglas buried a 3-pointer with 2:25 left to put the Seminoles ahead 76-74, but Henderson immediately answered and led the Blue Devils to their first senior night victory since 2005.

Henderson's three with 1:39 to play gave Duke a 77-76 lead and, after a miss by Douglas, Henderson made a pair from the line with 57 seconds to go.

"When I caught it, I anticipated him being closer to me because all game out on the perimeter they were jamming us and really getting physical with us," Henderson said. "So when I caught it, I wasn't necessarily catching it to shoot it. But when I saw that he was off of me, that's a shot I felt I can make, and it was open and I just shot it. I'm sure he anticipated me driving."

Douglas missed a 3-pointer on Florida State's next possession and Duke center Greg Zoubek tapped the ball out and Henderson tracked it down and raced downcourt for a layup and foul on Solomon Alabi.

Henderson hit the free throw that followed to make it 82-76 with 34 seconds left.

Freshman Elliot Williams added 14 points for Duke, which pulled within one-half game of North Carolina for the top spot in the ACC. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels close the regular season with a matchup in Chapel Hill on Sunday.

Uche Echefu scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half and Alabi added 12 points and 11 boards for the Seminoles.