TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Star coach Zion Williamson and the Duke 2.8 seconds behind Florida State, coach Mike Krzyzewski has concocted a game for one of his other freshman talents.
The Seminoles foresaw that it would be R.J. Barrett But it turned out to be Cam Reddish, left wide open to make the winning move. When the undisputed 3-pointer survived 0.8 seconds from the end, Duke celebrated a 80-78 win from the back, a win that remained unclear until the last second.
For Reddish, it was a moment of redemption after a series of six games in which he was hit by a crisis. But with 23 points and the winner of Saturday's match against the No. 13 Seminoles, Reddish showed not only to the world but to himself that he knew how to cope.
"It's a blessing," Reddish said. "I worked so hard to get here, I was praying like crazy, trying to come back to myself, I'm just happy I could have done it."
Williamson left the game late in the first period after getting poked in the left eye. After experiencing a double vision that had not dissipated at the beginning of the second half, Duke knew that he would have to play without him. The state of Florida took the opportunity to pull out Zion's big body, and the Seminoles set out to mark easy-to-paint baskets.
That strategy worked – Florida State had seven dunks in the second half and a total of 10 in the game – the largest number of Dukes having dropped out of the season. The Seminoles had their outside play, as did Duke with Reddish and Barrett in the lead.
Both teams came and went in front of a raging crowd at Florida State, strong enough to draw praise from players and Krzyzewski afterwards. The Seminoles took a 78-76 lead with 15 seconds to go, which put the crowd on the pace.
Cam Reddish, right, finished with 23 points, including a 3-point, 0.8-second lead to lead No. 1 Duke to 13th in Florida. Melina Myers / USA TODAY Sports
Barrett had the opportunity to tie the game when he made a mistake and that he went to the line. But he only made one free throw. Phil Cofer got the rebound and tried to get him out of a Duke player. But after review, the officials said the ball was out of Florida State's reach, giving the Blue Devils another chance to win.
The teams exchanged their timeouts and Krzyzewski said that he had changed the game before deciding for the final option.
"The coach said," Barrett said. He said: "They will watch me and Cam will be wide open."
The guard, Tre Jones, added: "We knew that they would try not to let RJ get the ball back in. We led him in the right way. that RJ disappears, and if he does not open, Cam was right behind him and one of them would be open. The coach prepared him, the game was wide open and Cam was able to run. "
Reddish and Barrett were stunned to be alone. Trent Forrest, a Florida state guard, simply said, "We lost Cam Reddish.
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said, "I was not expecting the ball to be at the elbow, I thought it was covered, I was waiting for what they do bring the ball inside, but not a direct out-of-bounds pass to a guy at the elbow.They have been very successful at creating directional errors.I have to go back and look the film and see how he managed to get that pass just for the money – because we had a 7-foot guy just above the ball, and I thought it would be enough for them at least to go in another direction with this short time.Excellent performance on their part, excellent finish by a very good player. "
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Reddish and Barrett combined to score 55 points, equalizing for their maximum this season (also combined for 55 against Kentucky in the Champions Classic). They combined to go 9 out of 15 from behind the bow.
With Williamson absent, both players knew exactly what they had to do to lead Duke to victory. And maybe it was good for them to be able to lead the Blue Devils, with so much of the spotlight at Williamson this season. But Krzyzewski said it was not like they had something to prove.
"Prove is not the word," he says. "They went on another occasion."
Krzyzewski said Reddish was also fighting cramps the entire second half.
"It's a huge match for him," Krzyzewski said. "Whenever a child wins a match like this, it's a storybook.Our guys, it's our 15th game.A number of these guys, they're not the best. have never lived such an experience – in this atmosphere, facing this level of talent And his expertise – and to come – it's not fair that he hit that one hit, he hit two other bigger ones RJ kept us in the game, Tre making sure we were going to at least give the ball to those two guys, but huge – huge for Cam. "
Huge for a young Duke team that is moving forward too.