For much of the game, it wasn’t pretty, but Florida State made the plays the Irish usually make in the final minutes en route to the 83-80 victory.
The first half was full of questionable officiating, turnovers, and missed shots. The frame was hardly a basketball clinic, but the Seminoles closed out the half strong and held a six-point advantage at the break.
The Irish battled all night and were able to take the lead with six minutes remaining in the second half, but could not make the winning plays in the final minutes that they had made look so routine in the first ACC games.
Losing in a hard-fought road game to a top-10 team is nothing to hang your head about, but this game was there for the taking with five minutes left and the Irish missed timely free throws and shots which ultimately led to the loss.
– The Irish were clearly bothered by the FSU length, but as mentioned in the preview, once ND made a run and found some offensive rhythm, Seminole coach Leonard Hamilton opted to go small.
– Not entirely sure why Colson and Beachem went up for a two after the steal when the Irish were down three in the closing seconds. Definitely a mental mistake, but far from the main reason for the lost.
– To win the game, ND was going to have to shoot their way to the W. They damn near did it as the Irish hit 15 threes. There was very little offensive production out of the big men and every time a wing drove, their shot was altered.
– Despite the lack of scoring, Colson and Geben did yeoman’s work on the defensive end. Both players boxed out well and did a great job challenging the FSU big men. The Seminoles were always going to get their fair share of offensive boards, but when Geben, Colson, and even Torres held their ground and made the FSU big men shoot over them, it was often a miss.
– T.J. Gibbs was spectacular for the Irish. Without the freshman’s play in the first half, the halftime margin could have been a lot uglier. Gibbs recorded 12 points with ten coming in the first half. Gibbs’ emergence as a playmaker is a critical development for ND. It gives them another viable scoring option and his ball-handling skills allows Brey to give Farrell some much-needed rest.
– The Irish were ultimately doomed by turnovers. They cleaned it up a bit in the second half, but ND had 13 in the first, which was one more than their total field goals in the half (12).
– The Irish received great offensive performances from Vasturia, Farrell, and Beachem for the first time in a long time, but it was not enough to overcome their mistakes.
– Hopefully, Beachem’s performance is a permanent slump buster and not just a blip on the radar like the Clemson game. If Beachem’s shot is falling, he becomes a completely different player and his aggression changes ND’s offensive attack.
– The Irish now come back to South Bend and try solve the Syracuse zone this Saturday. The Orange are not a tournament team, but their 2-3 gives the Irish fits and its important for ND to not let one loss turn into two.
– ND will play Fla. State again Feb. 11, this time in South Bend. I will be there. I will be drunk. I will be establishing a home court advantage. And I will make sure this loss is avenged – that’s The Otter Room promise.