NoleGameday

Florida State holds off Virginia Tech, faces Notre Dame in the conference semi-finals

Florida State rallied from a halftime deficit to defeat Virginia Tech 74-68. Dwayne Bacon led the Noles in scoring with 17 points. However, he was very inconsistent on offense. Bacon finished 4-17 from the field, 0-5 from three-point range, and 9-10 from the line. He also pulled down seven rebounds and grabbed three steals. Jonathan Isaac notched a double-double in the win, finishing with 11 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks.

Overall, FSU shot only 40% from the field (26-65) and 18.8% from deep (3-16). The Seminoles did finish 19-23 (82.6%) from the free throw line. This game was won on the defensive end. Florida State’s defense held the Hokies to 38.5% shooting from the field and 32% shooting from three-point range. The Noles also forced 15 turnovers and held a plus-14 rebounding margin. The team finished with 18 offensive rebounds, giving them a ton of second chance opportunities.

Next up for Florida State is Notre Dame at 9 p.m. on Friday, March 10. The game will be shown nationally on ESPN. The Fighting Irish defeated Virginia 71-58 in their quarterfinals matchup. FSU is 1-1 against Notre Dame this season. The Noles defeated the Fighting Irish 83-80 on Jan, 18. They lost at Notre Dame 84-72 on Feb, 11.

Notre Dame is 24-8, while the Noles improved to 25-7. The Fighting Irish have a short rotation, and it got even shorter during their quarterfinal matchup with Virginia. Four of the Irish’s five starters played over 30 minutes, and the fifth played 28. The four players who came in off the bench finished with a combined total of 28 minutes played.

Bonzie Colson led Notre Dame in their win over Virginia with 21 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Matt Farrell finished with 14 points, four assists, and two steals. Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem both finished with 12 points.

Projected starters:

– Florida State

PG: Xavier Rathan-Mayes

G: Dwayne Bacon

G: Terance Mann

F: Jonathan Isaac

C: Michael Ojo

 

– Notre Dame

G: Matt Farrell

G: Rex Pflueger

G: Steve Vasturia

F: V.J. Beachem

F: Bonzie Colson

 

Keys to the game:

Florida State needs to force the Irish into turnovers for easy scoring opportunities. Notre Dame only turned it over eight times during their win against Virginia, the Seminoles are going to want to push that number into double-digits after forcing Virginia Tech into 15 turnovers.

Perimeter defense is once again a huge key to winning this game. Notre Dame knocked down a mere 5-17 three pointers last night, but they are dangerous from deep. The Irish shoot 38.7% from three on the season. They also finished 15-21 from deep in their lone loss to Florida State. This team can get hot, it’s crucial for FSU to set the tone on defense early.

The Seminoles need to shut down Notre Dame’s best player in Bonzie Colson. They limited to Colson to nine points and eight rebounds in their first meeting. In the second, Colson exploded for a career-high 33 points, 13 rebounds and two steals. Limiting his scoring and boxing him out hard on rebounds will give FSU the best chance to advance to the ACC Championship game.

With the Fighting Irish starters being forced into big minutes last night, watch for the Noles to have fresher legs. Florida State is also the deeper team, and that should benefit them tonight after Notre Dame had to face a grinding Virginia defense.

Dustin Lewis
Lead writer for NoleGameday. Majoring in English Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State University. Writer for FSView Sports and Hashtag Basketball.

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