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Late Game Offensive Struggles Doom Irish In Loss To Florida State, 68-61

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Notre Dame (13-15, 3-12) hit just one field goal over the final five-plus minutes to come up short in a 68-61 loss to No. 18 Florida State (22-6, 10-5).

The Irish again couldn't find a way to close out a close contest allowing the Seminoles to escape and avoid the upset defeat.

Blue & Gold Illustrated recaps the contest half-by-half.

FIRST HALF

Notre Dame wing DJ Harvey got the scoring going for both teams at the 18:49 mark getting a layup to fall.

Florida State big man Christ Koumadje would get back-to-back buckets to give his team an early lead before Irish guard TJ Gibbs found Harvey in the corner for a triple.

Guard Terance Mann would get the first highlight of the game with a dunk to put his team up 6-5 at the first media timeout (15:58).

After the Seminoles took a 9-7 lead, the Irish found their footing hitting five of their next six attempts.

Guard Dane Goodwin got the ball rolling when fellow freshman guard Prentiss Hubb found him on the wing for a three-pointer. Hubb would force a steal on the other end and finish with a tough layup going high off the glass to avoid being blocker.

Florida State wing PJ Savoy followed with a triple to tie the game at 12 with 12:43 remaining in the half. Harvey would get into the paint with the shot clock winding down and called bank connecting on a tough jumper. Hubb again would get into the lane on the next Irish possession for a layup.

Hubb’s strong start continued before the under-12 media timeout with a step back three-pointer to give Notre Dame a 19-14 advantage with under 11 minutes left.

Seminoles forward Mfiondu Kabengele got three-straight points to put his team back within one possession, but Irish forward Nate Laszewski found himself with an open look in the corner off the pass from Hubb making it 22-17 Irish with 7:44 left.

A bucket from Harvey and a triple via Hubb would put the Irish up 27-17 with under 6:30 to play in the first half, but Koumadje would help get the Seminoles back into a rhythm with a jumper and dunk. That started a run for the Seminoles making four-straight buckets to cut the Irish advantage to 30-26 at the under-4 media timeout (3:44).

Florida State would force a couple of steals late for easy buckets in transition to eventually take the lead 33-31 with under a minute to play. Irish forward John Mooney would hit a tough jump hook to tie the game at 33 going into the break.

Harvey led all Irish scorers with 11 points and Hubb added 10 points, four rebounds and two assists. Notre Dame finished 12-of-28 (42.9 percent) from the field and 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) behind the arc. Florida State went 14-of-29 (48.3 percent) and had a 19-12 rebounding advantage to counter.

SECOND HALF

Notre Dame came out swinging in the second half making five of the team’s first six attempts to build an early 45-37 lead going into the under-16 media timeout.

The two teams traded paint buckets before the Irish went on a 7-0 run, fueled by a three-pointer via Harvey and buckets from big man Juwan Durham and Gibbs.

Koumadje hit a pair of free throws to end the run, but Hubb came right back with a triple for the final bucket before the media timeout.

But that would be the last field goal for the Irish before the unit hit a wall offensively. Notre Dame would go scoreless over the next four-plus minutes to allow the Seminoles to close the gap.

Notre Dame would get a pair of free throws from both Harvey and Hubb during the stretch, but five points via guard MJ Walker and buckets via Mann and wing Devin Vassell cut the Irish lead to 49-46 at the under-12 media timeout (11:42).

Gibbs would get a layup with 10:36 remaining to stop the drought from the field, but wing David Nichols drilled a triple to keep momentum with the Seminoles.

A pair of free throws from Kabengele took Notre Dame’s lead down to just one, but Harvey would counter with a baseline jumper going into the under-8 media timeout with Notre Dame leading 55-52 (7:43).

Nichols would miss a layup out of the break, but Vassell was there for the thunderous putback dunk to spark the Florida State faithful. The Seminoles would force a stop on the other end, which led to a Vassell three-pointer for the team’s first lead of the second half at 57-55 with under seven minutes to play.

A jumper by guard Trent Forrest made it 59-57 Florida State with 5:37 left before both teams went on a scoring drought of over two minutes.

Following a stop defensively, Hubb walked the ball up the court and did not cross halfcourt before 10 seconds resulting in a turnover with the Seminoles up 59-57 at the under-4 media timeout (3:32).

The Seminoles extended their lead to 62-57 with 1:23 left when Mann rose above Mooney going for the rebound and slammed a putback to ignite the crowd.

Mooney would hit a pair of free throws and get a dunk to make it 63-61 Florida State with under 40 seconds to play. But, the Seminoles didn’t blink and hit their free throws down the stretch to hang on for the 68-61 win.

Mooney’s dunk was the lone Irish bucket over their final 10 attempts to allow Florida State to take control. Harvey led all scorers with 18 points and Hubb finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Mooney added 14 points and eight rebounds.

The rough finish put Notre Dame at under 40 percent shooting for the game at 22-of-56 (39.3 percent). The Irish hit 8-of-21 (38.1 percent) behind the arc.

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