Florida State celebrated its return to the top 10 with another impressive performance, wearing down Duke with its size and depth.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half, helping the ninth-ranked Seminoles pull away from the No. 7 Blue Devils for an 88-72 win on Tuesday night.
Playing its first regular-season game as a top-10 team since 1993, Florida State rolled to its school-record 12th straight victory, breaking a mark that had stood since 1970. The Seminoles (16-1, 4-0) also improved to 4-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time.
Florida State’s reserves outscored their counterparts 21-4, but the biggest difference was points in the paint. With Duke’s Amile Jefferson sidelined by a bone bruise in his right foot, the Seminoles enjoyed a 56-28 scoring advantage inside.
When Duke started putting more pressure on Bacon and Terance Mann (13 points) in the second half, it created more space for Rathan-Mayes, who was 7 for 13 from the floor for the game.
“It was me taking and reading what the defense gave me,” Rathan-Mayes said. “They were trying to take Bacon out of his sweet spot and I saw a few gaps where I was able to be aggressive and knock down a few jumpers.”
The Blue Devils took a 50-48 lead on a Luke Kennard jumper before the Seminoles grabbed control with a 16-4 run over a five-minute span. All but two of the points came in the paint.
“They are a good team to keep out of the paint. They drive and ball screen you to death,” Duke interim coach Jeff Capel said. “Obviously size they can throw it up there and hurt you on the glass. They throw guys on you and wear you out.”
Kennard led Duke (14-3, 2-2) with 23 points, and Jayson Tatum had 21.