FSU Falls at Notre Dame: 3 Game-Changing Plays

Florida State needs to refocus, especially now with no more games at the Tucker Center. Notre Dame absolutely dominated the first half, shooting 38% from 3, and going into the break up 47-31, after forcing FSU into 9 first half turnovers. FSU was making shots, they just couldn’t keep the ball in their own hands in the first half. The adjustment coming out was to go super small. Scottie Barnes and RaiQuan Gray split the majority of the half at the 5, and it was working. They would slowly chip away and get the lead down to 9, then Notre Dame would hit a 3 or Jamie Luckie would benefit them with a foul call and the lead would go back to 13. Once FSU got the lead down to 8 late in the game, it really looked like they finally had momentum. With 2:34 left, Anthony Polite hit a transition 3 to get the lead down to 4, and all of a sudden it’s a much different ball game. Bad execution in the next couple of possessions would doom Florida State though, and they would go on to lose 83-73 and lose control of the 1-seed in the ACC Tournament, depending on what happens between Virginia and Louisville at 4pm. Florida State has lost 2 of their last 3, and both losses came on the road.

This team has so much of the 16-17 team. Star freshman, roster is littered with talent, they dominate at home, but really struggle at times away from the Tucker Center. Part of why they’re so good analytically is because they’re so comfortable playing at home and have gotten a lot of games there. Most of their postponed games due to COVID pauses were scheduled road games.

Before we get to the plays and box score notes, I get that a lot of fans will blame officiating and most of the time it’s overblown. I’m not even saying officiating cost FSU the game, but Jamie Luckie cannot keep being a head official in this league. Telling Scottie Barnes to stop clapping when Barnes is trying to get his team going is embarrassing for this league, and very reminiscent of Teddy Valentine turning his back on Joel Berry in the UNC/FSU game. Coach Hamilton would try and call a timeout and Jamie Luckie would just ignore him and not call the timeout. There were phantom calls consistently in the second half, no regularity on charge/block calls, bench warnings for this first time all season, and eventually a technical foul on the bench (like Coach Smith as that’s who Luckie pointed at). Officials with egos ruin this sport and they need to be regulated.

Anyways, box score.

There is only one major difference… you see it? The free throws were insane. Notre Dame came into the game averaging 14 free throw attempts per game, and shot more than double their usual amount with 34 attempts. That’s egregious. Fast break points are whatever, the technicalities for fast break points are weird and they usually short teams on that end, but it is almost impossible to overcome a team shooting more than double their usual amounts of free throws. And maybe you’re thinking that FSU just allows teams to shoot a lot of free throws since it’s happened a few times, but the average is 20 per game. This isn’t normal.

RaiQuan Gray was once again fantastic, finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 steals. He played an insane 35 minutes, which is too many. He was fatigued by the end of the game, and you could tell with his last turnover.

Scottie Barnes was also fantastic and was finally aggressive all game. He was attacking the rim, attacking closeouts, and was making his free throws too. He finished with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. More of this please.

Sardaar Calhoun was great in the first half and seemed to be the only source of offense. 10 of his 12 points came in the first half, and it hardly felt like he got on the court at all in the second half. He’s really good, play him.

MJ Walker may have had 12 points, but it took him 16 shots to get there. You can tell he’s playing banged up, but he was taking some really bad shots. Him going 2 of 5 from the free throw line speaks to it, he’s a really good free throw shooter. Malik Osborne must still be dealing with injuries too as he only played 8 minutes, and this is a game where he’d normally have a massive impact.

Prentiss Hubb lit up nets for Notre Dame again against FSU, finishing with 22 points and 5 assists. There were too many times where he was able to dictate the pace. Dane Goodwin was hitting timely shots all game and finished with 15 points. Nikola Djogo, Cormac Ryan, and Mate Laszewski all finished with 11 points. They’re a really good offensive team, so their production wasn’t that worrisome. It was just the constant free throws.

Onto the plays.

Play 1

Scenario: The ACC Refuses to Know What a Block or a Charge Is

Let’s look at two different plays.

This was called a blocking foul… for some reason. Gray is in perfectly legal guarding position (you’re allowed to be moving just can’t be leaning. Gray owns his space on the floor). His hands stay up, his body stays high, and the offensive player initiates the contact, yet this was called a foul on Gray. They should’ve let this one play out.

Then there is this play from the first half.

Nate Laszewski has no idea where Gray is, turns around quickly, and is instantly on his heels trying to establish position in front of the driving Gray. This is clearly a blocking foul if anything, but flopping gets rewarded with a charge call. The game was full of soft calls with little to no contact, and a complete mishandling of charge/block calls. It needs to be addressed.

Bad officiating wasn’t the reason Florida State lost, but they certainly didn’t help.

Play 2

Scenario: Anthony Polite Cuts the Lead to 4

This is just a really smart play from Polite. His principle in transition is to get to the corner for a shot, but he recognizes that the defender is ahead of him and comes back up the line to get an open 3 and he nails it. Great find from Gray as well. If FSU wins this game, you’re looking at this play right here.

Play 3

Scenario: The Ensuing Possessions Following Polite’s 3

This one is the killer. Great block by Polite, great transition, great attack on the close-out, two defenders commit, and a bad pass just skips off of Scottie Barnes’ leg and it’s going the other way. If FSU converts, they likely win the game and the bench knows it, look at their reactions. Evans hasn’t seen lobs all season for some reason, and if this is a lob pass it’s a huge momentum swing. I can hear the coaches screaming “THE BASKET IS ALWAYS OPEN”.

Cormac Ryan is fouled on the other end, but misses the front end of the 1-and-1. Then this happens.

Gray was tired, and FSU was much better in the second half taking care of the ball, but these two plays are killers. Can’t have this. So many of FSU’s turnovers were unforced and just mental mistakes and it needs to be cleaned up.

Florida State now will be forced to wait and see if they’re the 1 seed or the 2 seed depending on the Virginia/Louisville game at 4pm on ESPN2. The ‘Noles will start their ACC Tournament play on Thursday either way.

Leave a Reply