FSU/Duke Basketball Preview

Florida State's Von Wafer sat in front of the microphones Tuesday night a few minutes after FSU's dramatic overtime win opposite No. 3 Wake Forest having every reason to gush. He chose not to.


"It's almost frustrating because we could be 4-0 in the ACC," Wafer said straight faced.

Out of place as the comment may have seemed, it could be a sign that the puzzling Seminoles finally understand that they're running out of chances.

After dreadful, unfocused performances in losses against Clemson and Miami, everything came together for the Seminoles against Wake. FSU limited turnovers, kept focus for 40 minutes and used its athleticism to its advantage in the impressive victory.

They will need for their rollercoaster fortunes to keep cresting - FSU plays host to undefeated Duke at the Civic Center Saturday night.

The No. 4 Blue Devils (14-0) are among four remaining unbeatens in Division I and own the top spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"Unfortunately, we haven't always had this kind of response," said FSU coach Leonard Hamilton, whose team has dropped three conference games by a combined five points.

"It is almost embarrassing sometimes to think it takes the third-ranked team in the country to get you playing with this type of focus."

Focus shouldn't be a problem Saturday - FSU will take the floor against another big-name opponent in front of a rare sellout crowd, a climate the Seminoles have thrived in.

"Well, as a coach, I am mindful of the fact that we can't allow ourselves to get to high when we have success," said FSU coach Leonard Hamilton. "Just like we didn't allow ourselves to get to disappointed or down when we were not playing as well as I feel we are capable of playing."

Wafer, who is averaging 20.2 points in his last five outings, has the hot hand for the Seminoles. He peaked with a career-high 30 against Wake, 25 in the first half alone. FSU's leading scorer took a spill Tuesday but an MRI on his left shoulder earlier in the week revealed no damage.

Forward Al Thornton (26 points) and point guard Todd Galloway (21) are each coming off of career high performances, as well.

After handling Miami 92-83 on Wednesday, the Blue Devils finish their Florida swing in Tallahassee, where they have been upset victims two of the last three seasons. Due to the ACC's new scheduling format, this will be the only time the teams square off this season.

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