The fifth-ranked Duke Blue Devils set their sights on getting back into the race in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as they take on the Florida State Seminoles in a league tilt at the Tucker Center on Saturday.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils are the highest-ranked team in the ACC, but sit in second place in the conference standings at 5-2, a full two games behind league-leading Miami-Florida. Duke has won two straight games since getting blown out by the Hurricanes on Jan. 23, getting past both Maryland (84-64) and Wake Forest (75-70) in the last week.
Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles were supposed to take another step in the right direction in 2012-13, but inconsistency has plagued the team, which enters this contest at 12-8 overall, including a 4-3 mark in-conference. The Seminoles have won two of their last three games, including a thrilling 73-71 win over Maryland on Wednesday.
Duke holds a commanding 31-9 lead in the all-time series with Florida State and is 13-6 against the Seminoles in Tallahassee. However, FSU has won three of the last four meetings.
Mason Plumlee erupted for a career-high 32 points, leading Duke to a five- point win over a pesky Wake Forest squad last time out. Seth Curry was a perfect complement, pouring in 21 points, as Duke shot 51.9 percent from the floor, despite a mere 2-of-14 effort from 3-point range. Quinn Cook added 12 points to the cause, while dishing out seven assists.
Duke utilizes a balanced offensive attack, taking advantage of Plumlee's interior dominance and the team's long-range snipers. The 6-foot-10 Plumlee has been unstoppable this season, converting just under 60 percent of his shots and leading Duke in both scoring (18.1 ppg) and rebounding (11.1 rpg). Curry is shooting 41.4 percent from behind the arc and is pouring in 16.0 ppg. The team is still without the services of 3-point specialist Ryan Kelly (13.4 ppg, .521 from beyond the arc), but Rasheed Sulaimon (11.7 ppg) and Cook (11.2 ppg) have helped assuage the loss.
For the fourth time, Michael Snaer saved the day, as his 3-pointer with just over a second to go did in the Terrapins this week. Snaer finished with a game-high 19 points, hitting three 3-pointers and going 7-of-13 from the floor overall. Okaro White added 14 points and Ian Miller came off the bench with 10, as FSU won despite getting crushed on the boards (36-20).
Snaer certainly has a knack for being a clutch performer and leads the Seminoles in the scoring column at 14.2 ppg. White is the only other double- digit threat in terms of scoring average, netting 12.7 ppg. The Seminoles are putting up rather modest offensive numbers this season, averaging 69.2 ppg, on .441 shooting. The team is also being outrebounded by almost three caroms per contest.