Duke's Ryan Kelly (34) and Seth Curry (30) react as Florida State guard Michael Snaer (not pictured) hits a last-second shot to beat the Blue Devils 76-73, snapping a 45-game home win streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium. CHUCK LIDDY - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 7:54 p.m.
DURHAM -- In the dying seconds of Duke’s 76-73 loss to Florida State on Saturday, Austin Rivers drove to the basket on an isolation play and made one the biggest baskets of his fledgling college career to tie the score.
The Duke freshman had the chance to enjoy his heroics for all of 4.9 seconds.
“You hit a shot like that, and then …” Rivers said, reminiscing for a sweet half-second before catching himself.
“Someone got open.”
Michael Snaer was that someone.
After Rivers converted in the lane, the Seminoles moved the ball down the court in rapid succession, with Luke Loucks finding Snaer along the right wing. Duke’s Andre Dawkins tried to get out and get a hand in Snaer’s face, but Snaer swished a 3-pointer as time expired to give Florida State an exclamation point of a win.
“Snaer, man,” Rivers muttered.
With the loss, the fourth-ranked Blue Devils (16-3, 4-1) fell one win short of tying their all-time record for most consecutive wins at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The last team to win at Duke before Saturday was North Carolina, which beat the Blue Devils 101-87 on Feb. 11, 2009.
Duke had won 45 straight home games since.
“We’ve done a pretty (darn) good job, haven’t we?” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Krzyzewski thinks that description holds for his team’s effort against the Seminoles (13-6, 4-1), who have defeated North Carolina, Maryland and Duke in their last three games to catapult to the top of the ACC standings.
Krzyzewski also wasn’t distressed by the way the final sequence played out.
“Sometimes, there’s not a lot of explanation,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s the way the game is played. I don’t find any fault in our guys for trying to stop them and for what we did.”
Duke had an eight-point lead at one point in the second half – 58-50 with 9:53 remaining after a Ryan Kelly 3-pointer – but, for the most part, the score was close with both teams topping the other with key plays.
There were a couple of times it looked like the Blue Devils might have the Seminoles in a spot of trouble, most notably with the Kelly 3-pointer or when Andre Dawkins hit a 3-pointer from the corner to give Duke a 67-63 edge with 3:10 remaining.
Each time, Florida State found a way to get the ball into the paint to hurt the Blue Devils. After the Dawkins 3-pointer, Xavier Gibson had a dunk and Bernard James scored on a layup on consecutive FSU possessions to tie the score at 67.
The Seminoles shot 66.7 percent from the floor after halftime.
“They just got looks inside,” Rivers said. “I don’t know mentally if we started getting off a little bit. In the first half, we knew all their plays; we were eliminating them from making their plays. In the second half, they were running the same plays and getting good looks. It’s so frustrating because we prepare so well and work so hard.
“I thought tonight everybody fought. I don’t think anybody was lazy. It was just two teams in a boxing match. It was just blow for blow. They got that last blow in.”
After the Seminoles tied the score at 67, the teams traded baskets.
Rivers – who led Duke with 19 points – then made one free throw with 1:12 left before Snaer – who finished with 14 points – got in the lane and knocked down a tough shot in traffic to give the Seminoles a 71-70 lead with 56 seconds remaining.
From there, Loucks and Kelly both made one free throw while missing another to put Florida State’s lead at 72-70. Gibson then went one-of-two from the free-throw line with 18.2 seconds remaining before Duke called timeout to set up Rivers’ dramatic shot, which, of course, paved the way for Snaer’s game-winner.
“I always said at the beginning of the year that I didn’t want to lose in Cameron,” Rivers said. “This is our house. It hurts even more. It’s one thing to lose on the road, but to lose in here really (ticks) me off.”