North Carolina State and Florida State hope the turn of the calendar leads to a turn in their basketball fortunes as they square off in Atlantic Coast Conference action Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, N.C.
A COVID-19 outbreak has kept Florida State sidelined for more than two weeks, while the Wolfpack has lost four games in a row.
NC State (7-6, 0-2 ACC) is coming off a 91-83 loss at Miami on Wednesday night, when they let a second-half lead slip away. NC State led 73-68 with 7:06 remaining in the game but did not make another field goal until 1:35 remained.
The Hurricanes put together a 17-2 run to seal the outcome.
The late collapse squandered a 24-point effort by Jericole Hellems. The Wolfpack also got production from Dereon Seabron, who had 14 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Terquavion Smith also had 14 points.
Seabron is averaging a double-double for NC State with 18.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game to go along with a team-best 3.1 assists per game. Hellems (15.2 points per game), Smith (13.8) and Cam Hayes (10.5) also average in double figures.
"I just feel like we got to play harder," Smith said. "When the game gets more, like close, we got to play harder."
Florida State (6-4, 0-1) will play for the first time since Dec. 15 when the Seminoles beat Lipscomb 97-60 at home to halt a three-game losing streak. FSU has had its past three games either canceled or postponed due to its COVID-19 outbreak.
FSU coach Leonard Hamilton, who said he tested positive during the team's shutdown, revealed that at times only five or six players were available at practices.
"My main concern was not wanting my players to go home and affect their parents," Hamilton said. "I think they feel good about the decisions that were made to protect them and protect their families."
Transfer guard Caleb Mills has led the Seminoles on offense averaging 12.2 points, while team mainstays Malik Osborne (11.8 points, 7.2 rebounds) and Anthony Polite (10.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists) have remained consistent.
--Field Level Media