No. 20 Duke ends hiatus, minus Coach K, at No. 18 Florida State

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Duke hasn't played in a while, and Florida State hasn't played well recently.

Now the teams are slated to meet Saturday night in Tallahassee -- albeit with one key figure missing.

Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski did not make the trip after being exposed to someone outside of the team's traveling party who tested positive for COVID-19. Associate head coach Jon Scheyer will lead the squad in Krzyzewski's place.

No. 20 Duke (3-2, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) hasn't suited up since Dec. 16, opting to scrap the remainder of its nonconference schedule amid concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Then its scheduled matchup Tuesday night against Pittsburgh to open conference play was postponed because of the Panthers' coronavirus testing.

No. 18 Florida State (5-2, 1-1) was chugging along until falling in two of its past three games. Most recently, the Seminoles scored a season-low point total while losing 77-67 at Clemson on Tuesday.

However, defense might be a bigger concern for Florida State, which gave up 48 second-half points in that game. The defeat at Clemson and an 86-74 home loss to UCF on Dec. 19 are the only games in which the Seminoles allowed 75 or more points.

"We might have to go back to a more conventional defense," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said, noting that the switching of assignments at the defensive end isn't working out as planned.

Duke's most-recent game also marked its lone road outing, and the result was a 75-65 victory at Notre Dame.

Blue Devils forward Matthew Hurt, who had 18 points in that contest, is among the conference's top 10 for scoring (18.8 points per game) and rebounding (7.6 per game) and is shooting 52.2 percent from the field.

Hurt said he is trying to be more versatile.

"Teams last year scouted me as a 3-point shooter," Hurt said. "Even if your 3-point shot is not falling, try to be aggressive in different ways, score in different ways and just try to impact the game in different ways. Whether it is defense, offense or on the rim, basketball is more than just about threes, so try to impact the game."

Last February against Florida State, with both teams ranked in the top 10, Hurt snapped out of a funk after he lost a spot in the starting lineup. He came off the bench to score 12 points, including four free throws in the last 12 seconds. He also grabbed a key rebound down the stretch in an 18-minute outing as the host Blue Devils won 70-65.

Hurt figures to have a larger role in this weekend's game.

"I think part of getting better shots was Matt touching the ball," coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the team's improved offense against Notre Dame. "And also having (freshman Jaemyn) Brakefield in."

Duke has a lineup in which freshmen are relied on heavily. Florida State boosts the preseason ACC Freshman of the Year, guard Scottie Barnes.

Barnes ranks second among the Seminoles with an average of 11.1 points per game. He topped the team's scoring with 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field in the Clemson game. M.J. Walker leads Florida State in scoring at 15.3 points per game.

Duke has won nine of its past 10 meetings against Florida State.

--Field Level Media