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Men’s Basketball

ND blown out at Florida State

| Monday, February 29, 2016

No. 23 Notre Dame’s shot at a top-four seed in the ACC tournament suffered a blow Saturday, as the Irish were thrashed at Florida State, 77-56.

Despite 12 points and a career-high 17 rebounds from senior forward Zach Auguste, the Irish (19-9, 10-6 ACC) never got things cooking Saturday in a game it never led. After ties at 3-3, 5-5 and 7-7, the Seminoles (17-12, 7-10) burst for a 9-0 run to take the lead it would hold the rest of the way.

Two free throws from junior guard Demetrius Jackson cut the hosts’ lead to 18-17 just past the midway point of the first half, but Notre Dame never had the chance to go ahead, surrendering seven points in 31 seconds to start the onslaught that put the Irish in a sizable hole at halftime.

Irish junior guard Demetrius Jackson dribbles around a defender during Notre Dame’s 71-66 win over Louisville on Feb.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer
Irish junior guard Demetrius Jackson dribbles around a defender during Notre Dame’s 71-66 win over Louisville on Feb. 13 at Purcell Pavilion.

Florida State’s quick 7-0 run cascaded into a larger 28-11 one that saw Florida State carry a 46-30 lead into the half. It marked the 10th time in 16 ACC games this season the Irish trailed at halftime, and just as was the case in road losses at Virginia, Syracuse and Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame failed to mount a comeback in the second half.

“I was over it at about the 15-minute mark of the second half,” Irish head coach Mike Brey said. “ … I wasn’t feeling it because Florida State was really playing well.”

Brey attributed his team’s offensive struggles — the Irish scored a season-low 56 points — to an all-around, quality effort from the Seminoles.

“They’ve got length that can really get in passing lanes,” Brey said. “When you do get some stuff at the bucket — how many did they block? They blocked seven. […] When you can’t any of those easies that make you feel good, God, that demoralizes you. I think it was a combination of their bigs and their guards on the point of attack.”

While Auguste set a career high on the boards, it was Seminoles freshman guard Dwayne Bacon who stole the show Saturday, who went 3-for-5 from 3-point range and 7-for-11 from the field in a 21-point performance. Bacon’s sharpshooting from behind the arc set the tone in a good day for the Seminoles, who hit on 11 of 24 attempts.

“I thought they made some tough 3s that kind of broke our back anytime we looked like we had a little life to close it,” Brey said.

The win snapped a five-game losing streak for a Florida State team that had drifted out of serious contention for an NCAA tournament slot; only one team has ever made the tournament as an at-large team at four games under .500 in its conference slate, a record the Seminoles could have only avoided with two wins to close their regular season, including the one they got Saturday over the Irish.

“I give Florida State all the credit in the world, I thought they played fantastic, and they shot the heck out of the ball,” Brey said. “They deserved it. I think they played with more edge than us, which I was disappointed in, but we had really a hard time defending them at all [Saturday].”

While Florida State was looking to keep slim at-large hopes alive Saturday, Notre Dame had plenty to play for as well, with a shot at a top-four seed in the ACC tournament on the line.

“I was hoping we’d be a little more energized,” Brey said. “But you know, you’re in the dog days now a little bit. These guys aren’t robots.”

Notre Dame returns to action Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when it hosts No. 12 Miami at Purcell Pavilion in its penultimate regular-season game.

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About Alex Carson

Alex Carson graduated from Notre Dame in 2017 after majoring in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics and living in O’Neill Hall. Hailing from the Indianapolis area, but born in Youngstown, Ohio, Carson is a Cleveland sports fan convinced that he’s already lived the “best day of his life.” At The Observer, Carson was first a Sports Writer, then served as an Associate Sports Editor (2015/16) and an Assistant Managing Editor (2016/17), before finishing his tenure as a Senior Sports Writer. A man of strong convictions, he ardently believes that Carly Rae Jepsen's 2015 release E•MO•TION is the greatest album of his generation, and wakes up early on Saturday mornings to listen, or occasionally watch, his favorite least-favorite sports team, Aston Villa. When he isn’t writing, Carson spends his time counting down the days to the next running of the Indianapolis 500 and reminding people that the Victory March starts with the lyric, “Rally sons of Notre Dame,” not “Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame.”

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