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Men’s Basketball

Notre Dame looks to win second-straight game at home

| Friday, February 9, 2018

After snapping their seven-game losing streak with a win against Boston College on Tuesday night, the Irish still face a tall task if they hope to make it to the NCAA tournament. But Notre Dame will have an opportunity to make it two wins in a row when it faces Florida State on Saturday.

Chris Collins | The Observer
Irish senior guard Matt Farrell dribbles up the court during Notre Dame’s 96-85 win over Boston College on Tuesday at Purcell Pavilion.

The Seminoles (17-7, 6-6 ACC) are coming off a close 59-55 loss to No. 2 Virginia on Wednesday night, and Irish head coach Mike Brey said his team needs to find an offensive rhythm if it wants to pick up another win.

“We have to get into [an] offensive rhythm,” he said. “I’m hoping we can put back-to-back games together where we’re in a really good offensive rhythm. Florida State is a better defensive team than what we played against the other night. If we get into the 80 [point range] and we’re feeling good offensively, it helps us all the way around.”

While Notre Dame (14-10, 4-7 ACC) has certainly struggled on offense without seniors forward Bonzie Colson and guard Matt Farrell, as well as freshman wing D.J. Harvey, the offensive performance is finally starting to resemble its pre-injury form with Farrell’s recent return to the starting lineup, Brey said.

“We looked like the offensive philosophy of this program on Tuesday,” he said. “We have some threats and weapons that can stretch the floor and make a shot. I hope we still have some bullets in the gun for Saturday. We used a lot them [Tuesday night], but I think Matt being back and him and [sophomore guard] T.J. [Gibbs] playing off of each other is a good combination.”

After Farrell and sophomore forward John Mooney combined for 35 points in Tuesday night’s win against the Eagles, Brey said both players are nearing 100 percent.

“I think they’re both feeling really good. You can see with Matty that he’s close to 100 percent on Tuesday night, and another couple days of practice, I think he’s back,” he said. “I think Johnny is back at 100 percent. I thought his performance again was great, and we obviously need him healthy for us because he scores for us.”

Farrell and Mooney aren’t the only players nearing 100 percent, as Harvey — who has been sidelined with a bone bruise on his knee — and Colson — out since Jan. 2 with a broken foot — are making strides in their recoveries. Brey said he’s eyeing Harvey’s return next weekend on the road at Boston College.

“I think it’s realistic [Harvey returns] at Boston College a week from Saturday,” Brey said. “Anything before that would be a surprise for me, but he’s been pushing it more the past two days, and even more today.

“… We’re going to X-ray [Colson] again next week, and if the X-ray is a thumbs up, were going to start letting him jog and move on that foot and start bringing him back. He really wants to come back and play. … I don’t want to bring him back too soon, and I don’t want the risk of re-injury. But the pure part of who he is, he just wants to play with his teammates.”

In addition to the ACC matchup with the Seminoles, the Irish will also host members of the 1978 Final Four team Saturday night. Brey said the program will remain forever indebted for the example they set.

“The best team that ever played here in what they accomplished. … They’re a great inspiration,” he said. ”I was a big fan of that group, and getting to know them since I became a coach here is great. … It’s going to be a special day.”

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