FSU basketball bounces back nicely after their first loss in ACC play, defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 83-80.
In many ways, it wasn’t the prettiest game between FSU basketball and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The teams combined for 34 turnovers. Florida State allowed the Irish to make an obscene 71 percent of their three-pointers. In the end, none of it mattered. The Seminoles got the win, and improved to 17-2 (5-1).
After leading Notre Dame by six at halftime, the second half started poorly for Florida State . The Irish’s elite offense finally got going. ND guard Steve Vasturia made his four threes after the break. And the six-point lead quickly turned into a deficit for the Seminoles. But still, they battled.
Specifically, Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jonathan Isaac took over. XRM got aggressive, attacking the paint, looking for teammates with open looks. Isaac was often the beneficiary. He had a sequence that saw him hit a three on one play, and then complete an and-1 layup on the next.
With two minutes left, and the outcome still in doubt, XRM made back-to-back shots that sealed the deal. Until then, he had three points, so it was good to see him take over when was needed. ND wouldn’t quite go away, but ultimately, Isaac made some free-throws and blocked some shots to end it.
This was the fifth game of the six-game gauntlet that saw the team play all ranked opponents. FSU has gone 4-1 thus far in the stretch. The Seminoles managed to beat a really good Irish team that made 15 freaking three-pointers. And their leading scorer, Dwayne Bacon, had his worst game of the season. Their most important role player, Terrance Mann, finished the night with zero points and zero rebounds. Yet still, the Seminoles were resilient enough to squeak out a win.
Let’s hand out some awards.
Player of the Game
Jonathan Isaac was incredible tonight. No, that’s not hyperbole. He was absolutely fantastic. Isaac finished the night with 23 points. In how many shot attempts? Nine, which is just special efficiency. For good measure, he also added in 10 rebounds, two threes, and seven blocks. Oh, and he made all seven of his free-throw attempts too. His teammates acknowledged how well he played in the locker room afterwards.
He had shown flashes before tonight, but Isaac seemed to put all of it together against the Irish. That explosion was exactly what has NBA execs salivating over his potential. Enjoy him while you can, FSU fans. He’ll be a millionaire by this time next year.
Ryan Reid Unsung Hero Award
XRM did exactly what his team needed tonight. In the first half, PJ Savoy and Bacon were cooking, so he let them do their thing. But as it got late, and the team needed a bucket, he realized it was his turn. The first shot he made was a nice, short mid-range jumper over an off-balance defender. The second one, though, was a little more difficult.
XRM finished the game with just eight points. But he also had three rebounds, two steals, and, most importantly, seven assists to just one turnover. Great game by Canadian Kobe.
Quick shout-out to FSU’s bench, who again played great. The #BoomSquad, as they like to be called (don’t ask me), combined for 34 points. CJ Walker had nine, Jarquez Smith had 10, and Savoy finished with 12. As a whole, they came up big, and will continue to be the backbone of this Florida State team.
What, you want more highlights? Sheesh, alright, here you are then (courtesy of the ACC Digital Network).
Florida State hosts the #12 Louisville Cardinals on Saturday at 2 PM. Won’t be easy, but none of these past five games have been, so I expect the Seminoles to be ready. I also want to commend FSU fans for filling up the Tuck. For conference play, the crowds have been absolutely electric, and are at least partially to thank for FSU’s undefeated home record. So kudos, Seminoles.
Check back with us on Saturday for your favorite FSU basketball preview. And Go ‘Noles!