TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton got a glimpse Saturday of the level he wants his team to reach.
Duke tends to have that effect on opposing teams.
The fifth-ranked Blue Devils (19-2, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) simply shot the Seminoles out of the gym and likely out of any NCAA postseason hopes with a 79-60 win.
Duke's backcourt of Seth Curry (21 points) and Quinn Cook (18) led the onslaught. Curry and Cook combined to shoot 9 of 13 from beyond the 3-point arc. They effectively took Florida State out of the game early with their long-range accuracy.
"It was raining 3s," said Hamilton. "They were able to put themselves at that magic level that has been elusive to us."
The Blue Devils were crisp from the opening tip until the final horn, blowing past the defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions with ease.
"It doesn't feel the same as it did last year," Florida State's Ian Miller said. "We enjoyed seeing teams panic. This year we're the team panicking."
Duke scored the game's first 11 points, while Florida State went nearly six-and-a-half minutes before getting its second basket. Duke shot 60.8 percent and connected on 11 of 18 from 3-point range as Florida State allowed a season high in points.
Florida State (12-9, 4-4) was led in scoring by freshman Aaron Thomas with 14 points and Devon Bookert, another freshman, added nine. Senior scoring leader Michael Snaer had just seven points on 3-of-13 shooting.
Florida State has been manhandled by ranked teams Minnesota, Florida and now Duke while also stealing a pair of ACC wins with last-second shots by Snaer.
But while Hamilton tries to find the right mix, he'll likely have to continue turning to his younger players in hopes of a strong finish to reach the NCAA tournament and a 20-win season for a fifth straight year.
"If we are going to find a way to get back in the NCAA conversation, we're going to have to do something exceptional," Hamilton said. "We're not going to have very much room for error."
The Seminoles have been surprisingly competitive in several games despite struggling on the glass, a problem made all the worse by a potential season-ending injury to redshirt junior Terrance Shannon — their most reliable rebounder.
Duke had a 27-24 rebound advantage in Saturday's win.
Shannon collided with Virginia forward Evan Nolte and fell to the court during the Seminoles' 56-36 loss to the Cavaliers on Jan. 19. He lay motionless for 10 minutes before being removed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital with a neck injury. He was released the next day.
Team trainers said Saturday that they are still unsure about whether Shannon will return this season. Shannon was in street clothes on the Florida State bench, but without the neck brace he has previously worn.
The 6-foot-3 Snaer, meanwhile, led the Seminoles with five rebounds.
"We've got to dig ourselves out of this hole," Hamilton said.