Saturday, 23 February, 2019

FSU can't keep up with Bonzie Colson in loss to Notre Dame

Michael Hickey  Getty Images Michael Hickey Getty Images
Kristopher Love | 13 February, 2017, 12:23

"I knew he had it", former Irish teammate Pat Connaughton said in a text message to the Tribune late Saturday. It's a good feeling right now.

But even the most optimistic Notre Dame (19-7, 8-5 ACC) fan might not have suspected Colson was capable of the kind of game he had Saturday.

Terance Mann scored 15 for Florida State (21-5, 9-4). 9 Louisville. The win was also Notre Dame's 75th over the last three years, the winningest three-year stretch in program history.

Since deciding to go small for large doses starting in the February 5 loss to North Carolina, Notre Dame (19-7; 8-5) has averaged 82.6 points the last three games after averaging 62.6 the previous three league losses.

The home team busted this one open with a big burst to start the second half.

Isaac dismantled the Irish in the previous matchup with 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks.

That gave him his 1,000 career point and 10th rebound for his league-leading 16th double-double. The Seminoles scored a whopping 54 points in the paint. But the Seminoles struggled on the interior, and couldn't make free throws. Florida State connected on three of its first 13 before finishing 7 for 22.

"We had a hard time defending Colson with some of our bigger guys", offered Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton, he the proud recruiter of a pair of imposing centers in excess of seven-feet tall in addition to a six-foot ten-inch shot-blocker in Jonathan Isaac.

- Home Cookin' for the Big Four: In addition to Colson's career-high of 33 points last night, V.J. Beachem posted his four-season best point total, 30, in a home win over Syracuse. "And when we went to a smaller lineup, Colson was a handful against some of our smaller guys as well".

"We executed really well today", said point guard Matt Farrell, who had 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds. "I think the mindset, the whole development process we're going through, the maturation process is moving in the right direction".

Meanwhile, the Irish offense-like in the second half against Wake Forest-continued to purr smoothly, putting up consecutive halfs of at least 40 points.

Notre Dame's lead ballooned to 10 in the first half, but a few turnovers at the top of the key gave Florida State easy transition buckets to pull the game back within five with four minutes to play in the period.

Walker told IndyStar at the time of his commitment that Florida State "felt like a second home to me", and that although he loves IN, he "wanted to get away from home and be accountable for myself IN a new home". With Gibbs and Pflueger getting the go from tip-off, the Irish only need to focus on playing their game and not having to worry about the liability of an unreliable presence down low. We were greedy when we got out of the gate and won five in a row (to start ACC play).

"It's going to be just like high school", he said. The Seminoles have three times been a 3 seed, the last in 2012. Originally committed to Purdue as a junior, he surprised a lot of people when he flipped to Florida State after an official visit the summer of 2015. - especially given the timing and opportunity (he had plans to visit Butler and could have gone to school closer to home at IL or Xavier).

Senior associate athletics director John Heisler has been following Irish athletic fortunes since 1978.

And the Seminoles weren't able to overcome the offensive short comings because Notre Dame's offense was in high gear.

There was as much of a buzz in Purcell Pavilion Saturday as for any other Irish home game this season. Instead, Notre Dame outrebounded Florida State, 41-34. Of the five remaining games, four are against teams Boston College (2), Georgia Tech and North Carolina State with losing league records.