"It was a strange feeling, you looked at the fans and even they were exhausted," senior tri-captain Nate James said of the Cameron Crazies, who used as much energy as the team in an 85-83 loss to the No. 4 Tar Heels on Thursday night. "There was so much emotion in that North Carolina game, we walked onto the court today and said, `Wow, we really have to play well because we owe it to the fans and we owe it to each other.'
"Once you step on that court it's not about you. It's about Duke."
The victory gave the Blue Devils (20-2, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) their 16th 20-win season in the last 18 years under Mike Krzyzewski and kept them one game behind the Tar Heels in the race for the ACC regular-season title.
Mike Dunleavy added 18 points for Duke, while Jason Williams, who had averaged 24.4 points in his previous 15 games, was held to a season-low eight, but had 10 assists and six steals.
It appeared Duke worked on its free-throw shooting after missing 14 of 27 against the Tar Heels. The Blue Devils were 8-for-8 there in the first half and finished 25-for-32.
"We came out the other day in practice and we were making every free throw," Williams said. "It was really annoying. That's basketball for you. It's the way you pay through adversity that you really find out the team that you are."
The Seminoles (6-16, 1-8) fell to 0-8 this season against ranked teams and have lost 13 straight to the Blue Devils. Florida State matched a season high with 21 turnovers.
"We have a few moments where we do some good things, but you can't have few moments," Florida State coach Steve Robinson said. "You've got to have about 40 minutes of good basketball if you expect to come out of here with a victory."
Reserve Monte Cummings led the Seminoles with 13 points.
Duke only led by four against the last place team in the ACC with 5:27 left in the first half before Battier sparked the Blue Devils with 10 points on a pair of 3-pointers and two layups.
The Blue Devils closed the half with an 18-5 run for a 17-point lead at the break.
The Seminoles then fell apart against Duke's pressure in the opening portion of the second half, turning it over five times in the first three minutes as the Blue Devils used a 15-4 run to go up by 28 points.
Duke also scored 21 straight points late in the second half as the Seminoles missed 11 straight shots.
Duke makes an NCAA-best 10.6 3-pointers a game, but was hurt by a lack of an inside game in a two-point home loss to the Tar Heels on Thursday night.
In this one, the Blue Devils waited more than seven minutes before taking a shot from behind the arc. They were only 3-for-10 in the opening 20 minutes, but got 18 points in the paint.
"We concentrated on trying to get the ball down low and the guys responded," James said. "Once the guys know we have confidence in them to go down low then we can have that balanced attack."
The Blue Devils also buckled down on defense and got their running game going, getting 20 first-half points off 14 Florida State turnovers.
The win was the 49th straight by Duke against non-ranked ACC teams.
"This wasn't as big a game for everybody, but it was for us," Dunleavy said. "We really wanted to get back in the win column. We got the kinks out early and it was back to our usual ways."
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