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Shorthanded FSU shows fight, falls short at Duke

Florida State played without five starters and held its own for the majority of a half. Eventually Duke’s talent and height advantage took over.

Jalen Warley scored 15 points — nearly doubling his season best — on 6 of 10 shooting but No. 9 Duke began to pull away late in the first half and was in control the rest of the way, taking a 88-70 win on Saturday night. Warley had his best game of the season, aggressively driving to the rim and adding seven rebounds and six assists.

“Jalen is growing up,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I thought this was a tremendous opportunity for him to let everybody know that our point guard position is in good hands as we move toward the future. I thought he was aggressive, I thought his defense was solid. He evolved in this particular game to be our leader on the floor. But sometimes it’s hard to be a good leader when you got some young guys trying to figure out how to follow.”

Matthew Cleveland had 16 points on 7 of 13 shooting for FSU (14-12, 7-9 ACC), which played without guards Caleb Mills, RayQuan Evans and Anthony Polite as well as forward Malik Osborne and center Naheem McLeod. Cam’Ron Fletcher also had 12 points and six rebounds.

FSU shot 28 of 56 (50 percent) from the floor and 6 of 19 (31.6 percent) from 3-point range. But the Seminoles were badly outrebounded 41-23, with Duke pulling down 15 offensive boards although those led to just 12 second-chance points.

While FSU was in the game, trailing just 41-39 with 3 minutes until halftime, Duke used an 11-2 run to pull ahead 52-41 at the break.

“I thought our guys gave, for the majority of the game, a good effort,” Hamilton said. “I thought we had some execution issues there at the beginning of the second half. And actually in reality with about two minutes to go in the first half. I thought that we had to close-out issues where we took some shot fakes and that’s when they hit probably about three 3s and extended what was a two-point game.”

The Seminoles were able to get Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams into foul trouble early but each was able to inflict damage. Banchero had 13 of his 17 points in the second half.

Duke put six players in double figures, including Wendell Moore Jr. (16 points, seven assists, five rebounds).

Up next: FSU at Boston College

FSU has a short turnaround, playing at Boston College on Monday at 7 p.m. (ACC Network). BC is 9-16, 4-11 ACC following a loss on Saturday at Syracuse.

Hamilton said he was doubtful Mills and Evans would be able to play at BC.