They’ve done it, FINALLY.
After not having beaten a ranked opponent since the Maui Invitational title game win over Wichita State in late 2017, your Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team has finally taken down a ranked foe, defeating the #11 Florida State Seminoles by a final score of 83 to 73 at Purcell Pavilion today.
Notre Dame was led on the day by Prentiss Hubb, who scored 22 points while dishing out 5 assists and grabbing 4 rebounds. Hubb’s drive and bucket with 1:08 to play extended the Irish lead back to 6 and ultimately stemmed the tide for the final true Seminole run of the game.
Several other ND players chipped in really nice performances (5 guys scored in double figures), including Dane Goodwin’s 15 points and 9 rebounds, Nikola Djogo’s 11 points and utilization of all 5 of his fouls on Senior Day, Cormac Ryan’s 11 points and 7 rebounds, and Nate Laszewski’s extremely quiet 11 points and 5 boards. Juwan Durham also added 9 points and 9 rebounds.
The Irish shot 43% from the field, 33% from deep, and making 28-of-34 free throws, all while narrowly winning the rebounding battle on the day, which is certainly a surprise considering the length and athleticism and depth of the Seminoles.
Florida State was paced in scoring by future NBA Draft lottery pick Scottie Barnes, who put up 17 points and grabbed 9 rebounds while shooting 7-of-10 from the field. Other key contributors included RaiQuan Gray (15 points, 10 rebounds), M.J. Walker (12 points), and Sardaar Calhoun (12 points). FSU shot 41% from the field and 25% from long range on the day, and having a solid day at the charity stripe as well in making 15-of-20 as a team.
The Irish jumped out to a nice start in the first half, seemingly energized by Senior Day and by the 400 students once again in attendance, who were making their presence known early on (in a more positive fashion). Nik Djogo, one of the seniors honored for Senior Day, scored 8 points in the first 4+ minutes of play, driving ND to jump out to a 13-5 lead early. The Irish would push that lead to as much as 20 throughout the half, and would end up leading at halftime 47 to 31.
Irish lead 47-31 at the half— One Foot Down (@OneFootDown) March 6, 2021
Hubb has 13 and 4 asts
Goodwin has 9 and 3 rebs
Djogo has 8
Durham has 7 and 4 rebs
Ryan has 6 and 4 rebs
ND shot 48% from the field, 39% from deep, and is somehow winning the rebounding battle 19 to 13
In the second half, the Irish appeared destined to suffer a similar collapse to other games this season like Syracuse, allowing the Seminoles to start the half on a 7-0 run and to cut the Irish lead down to just 8. Unlike the Syracuse game, though, the Irish responded behind some nice 2nd half play from Dane Goodwin and Nik Djogo, and ND rebuilt their lead to 62-49 with just under 12 minutes to play.
From there, the Irish did just enough to keep the Seminoles at arm’s-length, holding an 8-12 point lead for much of the remainder of the game. FSU did cut the lead down to 4 in the last 2 minutes, but that fantastic drive and finish by Prentiss Hubb with just over a minute left helped propel the Irish toward what would end up being a 10-point victory after some fouling and free throws.
The Irish will play next in the ACC Tournament on Tuesday, 3/9, where they will likely be the 11 seed and playing #14 seed Wake Forest in the first round, thanks to this win and Pittsburgh falling to Clemson today.
It’s gonna be too-little, too-late for the Irish’s tourney hopes (barring 5 wins in 5 days for another ACC Tournament title next week), but it was a really nice finish to a frustrating season, a wonderful send-off for Jack Nolan and Juwan Durham and Nik Djogo, and considering Mike Brey’s future is all sorts of questionable right now, a lovely reminder of how good the Irish program can be and has been under his tutelage, even if it’s one of the last times we see it.