To the media, Notre Dame’s victory over the Florida State Seminoles may have been an upset, but to the Irish, they know they are one of the elite teams in the ACC regardless of their recent four game losing streak.
Notre Dame knocked off the Seminoles 84-72 behind their electric home crowd, getting the Irish back on track after a rough start to the month of February.
Saturday was a sight for many new things such as Steve Vasturia laying down a monster dunk, Irish basketball fans tailgating in February, Temple (TJ) Gibbs entering the starting lineup and Bonzie Colson entering the 1,000 point club at Notre Dame.
With Mike Brey still struggling to find that key 5th member of his starting line up, the coach decided to go to a four guard starting five, giving the freshman, Temple Gibbs, his first start of his career.
“Playing big guys, that maybe overrated!” said a laughing Coach Mike Brey.
The rising freshman entered Saturday’s game averaging 5.3 points and two assists. Gibbs has had five double digit scoring games this season with his last big performance coming against Duke in which he recorded 12 points. Gibbs also had a big game the last time the Irish faced the Seminoles as he scored 12 points.
Notre Dame lost part one of the two game series between the Seminoles, as the Fighting Irish only lost by three in Tallahassee back in January.
The Irish have since fell out of the AP top 25 after a tough four game losing streak, but looked to seek revenge over the #14 Florida State Seminoles with their home crowd to back them up.
Notre Dame has faced opponents all year that towered over them, with Saturday’s matchup being just another game.
Florida State’s starting line up is highlighted by senior centre Michael Ojo at seven foot one, with their shortest guard standing at six foot four; one foot shorter than Irish big man Bonzie Colson.
Regardless, Notre Dame shot just under 50% from the field, highlighted by Matt Farrell’s 3 three pointers, scoring 11 of his total 15 points in the opening half.
Bonzie Colson was the star of the game however, scoring 13 of his total 33 points in the opening half until he dominated in the second half.
After going into half with a 40-31 lead over the Seminoles, Bonzie Colson played mean in the second half. The Irish forward was a force in the paint, scoring 20 points and passing the 1000 point milestone at Notre Dame. Colson also recorded his 16th double-double of the season, grabbing 13 rebounds in addition to his 33 points.
After the game, Coach Brey stated:
“That was one of the great performances in our program’s history against a big time team, on national TV”.
He later stated, “I think he’s a strong first team all-league guy already, you know with the double-doubles, he’s got the most in the league (ACC), but right now, he keeps this surge up, he’ll be in the discussion as much as any guy for player of the year”.
The Fighting Irish did not let the Seminoles hang around with them at all as the Irish never took their foot off the gas. This is a huge improvement for Notre Dame, with the Irish blowing their first half lead in their first meeting with the Seminoles this year.
The Irish led consistently by double digit points and closed out the game winning 84-72.
“Probably the best we played, in league play, on both ends of the floor”, stated Coach Brey. “Even though we played small, we held our own on the backboard, so great win for us, our guys were excited to play these guys”.
Steve Vasturia and Matt Farrell each recorded 15 points, with Farrell dishing out nine assists and grabbing five boards, while Vasturia grabbed seven rebounds.
VJ Beachem recorded nine points, two blocks and four rebounds, while Rex Pflueger came off the bench scoring seven.
In his first start of his career, TJ Gibbs recorded five points, dished out two assists, committed one steal, grabbed four boards but got into some foul trouble as he recorded four personal fouls.
Notre Dame is right back into action on Tuesday night as they will travel to Boston to take on Boston College. Tip off is set for 7 PM, broadcasting live on ESPNU.
– R. Scarfone