Luck of the ‘Noles: FSU steals one from the Irish, 73-71

Florida State's Trent Forrest (3) and Raiquan Gray (1) leave the court together following Florida State's 73-71 win over Notre Dame in an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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By: Chris Nee | Noles247
March 4, 2020

#7 Florida State found themselves down 13 points with 10 minutes left. They would go on a 25-10 run, capped by a Trent Forrest put-back with three seconds left, to defeat Notre Dame, 73-71, from Purcell Pavilion at Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center in Notre Dame, Indiana on Wednesday evening.

The go-ahead game-winner gave FSU their first lead since 5-4. The Seminoles led just 19 seconds on the evening. The Irish held the lead for 35:45 out of 40 minutes.

The Seminoles (25-5, 15-4 ACC) sweep the Irish (18-12, 9-19 ACC) for the first time ever in the regular season. It also marked FSU’s first-ever win at Notre Dame. FSU is now 7-4 all-time against the Irish, having won three in a row. Leonard Hamilton improved to 14-7 against the Irish as a head coach, having also faced them 10 times (7-3) at Miami.

FSU’s 15 ACC wins are a school record. The Seminoles also equaled their win total during the regular season from last year. They have proven themselves as road warriors this season, winning 6-of-10 ACC road contests.

The win was fueled by a strong second half by M.J. Walker. He finished with a team-leading 21 points, including 13 consecutive points during the comeback effort. Forrest, the hero in the end, had 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. He has now scored in double figures in nine consecutive games. Devin Vassell was also in double figures, scoring 13 points. FSU’s bench only produced 13 points on the evening.

“Throughout the game they went on their runs and we’ve been in situations like this before throughout the year that prepared us for another moment like this,” Walker said on the broadcast after the game. “We pulled through. We just had to stay focused throughout the game. Obviously they had their runs but we just had to stay with it and not give up.”

Walker said that they communicated better and pressured the ball better during their comeback over the final 10 minutes.

The Irish gave FSU fits. They cooled off down the stretch, but still finished 25-for-55 (45.5%) from the floor, 11-for-32 (34.4%) from deep and 10-for-11 (90.9%) from the line. They had 14 assists and 15 turnovers.

The trio of Prentiss Hubb (24 points and six assists), John Mooney (16 points and 11 rebounds) and Dane Goodwin (16 points) combined for 56 of the 71 points scored by Notre Dame. Mooney did not score in the second half, but did record his 25th double-double of the season and 16th this season against an ACC opponent.

FSU was 27-for-62 (43.5%) from the floor, 5-for-18 (27.8%) from the perimeter and 14-for-17 (82.4%) from the line. The Seminoles had eight assists and 10 turnovers.

Forrest’s put-back was two of FSU’s 14 second-chance points.

FSU had a 34-33 advantage on the boards. The Seminoles also had a 34-18 scoring advantage in the paint.

Leonard Hamilton’s squad recorded eight steals and two blocks.

FSU returns home to host Boston College on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. FSU will celebrate their senior class, Trent Forrest and Dominik Olejniczak, prior to tip.

With a victory, FSU will claim their first-ever ACC regular season crown.

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