Florida State junior guard Terance Mann knows that whenever the Seminoles play Duke, the game is going to always be a battle.
That was the case last year in their two matchups, which both teams split, and Mann expects the same this year.
“Both teams play real aggressive so the games get really chippy at times,” Mann said. “But they’re big-time battles.”
No. 4 Duke (12-1) plays No. 24 Florida State (11-1) on Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. It will be Duke’s first game in 10 days, and its first conference game since being upset by Boston College 89-84 on Dec. 9.
Boston College sophomore guard Ky Bowman finished with a near triple-double (30 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists), and the Eagles shot 15-for-26 from behind the 3-point line.
“That’s one of those games that Boston College shot exceptionally well from 3, and Duke didn’t play as well as they’re capable of playing,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “It happens to all of us.
“For the most part, whenever you lose one of those games, it brings you to reality and helps you. I think that’s why you saw Duke bounce back so well against Evansville.”
The Blue Devils responded to its loss to Boston College with a 104-40 win over Evansville on Dec. 20. Defense had been a point of concern for them, but they worked on it in practice and shut down the Purple Aces, who managed to shoot only 30 percent from the floor.
Although Duke redeemed itself, Florida State presents a much tougher matchup than Evansville, which was without its top two scorers.
Here are three things to know heading into Duke’s game against Florida State:
1. Under Hamilton, the Seminoles have historically had one of the better defenses in the country. This year, Florida State has given up on average 64.8 points per game, which is tied for 37th in the country. By comparison, Duke gives up 72.4 points per game. The Seminoles also average 8.8 steals and 6.1 blocks per game.
Duke has been one of the better offenses this year. It averages 94.2 points per game, which is second-best in the country. A large part of that is because of its offensive rebounding and ability to get second-chance points.
Freshman forward Marvin Bagley III has been Duke’s leader in points and rebounds. He averages 21.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. He leads the ACC with 10 double doubles.
“He’s as advertised,” Hamilton said of Bagley. “He’s a multi-talented player. ... For Coach K to give him the recognition he’s given him says a lot in itself.
“Coach K doesn’t just throw out compliments just to be throwing them out.”
2. Florida State isn’t afraid of the big game on the road. On Dec. 4, Florida State beat then-No. 5 Florida 83-66 on the Gators’ home floor. Florida State stymied Florida’s offense.
At that time, Florida had the nation’s top offense and was averaging 99.6 points per game. Mann had a game-high 25 points.
Duke also beat Florida earlier this year. The Blue Devils came back from 17 down to win 87-84 in the PK80 tournament championship game on Nov. 26
3. Florida State beat Duke at home last season 88-72. In the Jan. 10 game last season in Tallahassee, the Blue Devils were without big man Amile Jefferson, who was out with a foot injury. Hamilton said he doesn’t remember much of that game, but he does remember the second matchup on Feb. 28, when Duke won 75-70 at home in Durham. He recalls Jefferson – who had returned from his injury – not missing a shot.
Jefferson was 6-for-6 from the floor and finished that game with 14 points and 11 rebounds. It was his final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“They clearly out played us in Durham,” Hamilton said. “They balled us up defensively and played harder. We came back at the end, made it look respectable, but they outplayed us.”
No. 24 Florida State at No. 4 Duke
When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham
F Marvin Bagley III (21.1 ppg, 10.9 rpg)
F Wendell Carter Jr. (13.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg)
G Gary Trent Jr. (13 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
G Grayson Allen (17.1 ppg, 4.3 apg)
G Trevon Duval (11.7 ppg, 6.8 apg)
Florida State (11-1)
C Ike Obiagu (3.9 ppg, 2.8 bpg)
F Phil Cofer (13.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
G C.J. Walker (9.7 ppg, 3.0 apg)
G Braian Angola (11.7 ppg 3.3 apg)
G Terance Mann (15.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg)