Notre Dame snapped a four game losing streak earlier this week with a win on Wake Forest. Saturday night the Irish made it back to back wins with an upset of #14 Florida State in a game they controlled from start to finish. Led by a career night from Bonzio Colson and aided by some down right horrific free throw shooting by the Seminoles, the Irish prevailed 84-72 on their home court.
Bonzie Colson strapped Notre Dame on his back Saturday night and was not going to let Florida State get their second win of the season over the Irish. Colson posted a career high 33 points – including the 1000th of his career – along with 13 rebounds for yet another double-double. Colson is leading the ACC in rebounding and now has 16 double-doubles on the season.
Colson avenged one of his worst performances of the season Saturday night. In Notre Dame’s first meeting of the season against the Seminoles Colson posted just 9 points and 8 rebounds. All 9 of those points came on three pointers as he struggled to get anything going inside. That was not the case Saturday. Colson was a monster in the paint including scoring his 1000th career point on a tip in between three Florida State defenders.
Notre Dame played small on Saturday against the Seminoles starting Temple Gibbs and playing him 22 minutes while big men Austin Torres and Martinas Geben played a combined 4 minutes. Small ball worked for the Irish though as they out-rebounded the bigger Seminoles 41-34 much to the surprise of Dick Vitale who called the game for ESPN. Florida State is one of the tallest teams in the country, but no Seminole had more than 6 boards against the Irish.
Colson wasn’t the only one on his game for Notre Dame Saturday night. Matt Farrell scored 15 points but more importantly dished out 9 assists in playing the game like a point guard should. Farrell’s awareness on Saturday night was on another level as he made beautiful pass after beautiful pass.
Steve Vasturia chipped in 15 points as well despite missing all four of his three point attempts.
While the story of the night for Notre Dame was the dominance of Bonzie Colson, the story for Florida State was complete ineptitude at the free throw line. Florida State made just 7 of 22 free throws on Saturday night. They struggled from three point range as well connecting on just 3 of 15 attempts. Notre Dame meanwhile returned to its free throw shooting form by hitting 19 of 21 attempts.
Bonzie Colson Surging
Bonzie Colson has been firmly in the All-ACC discussion all year long but he is now firmly in the All-American conversation and if he continues to play at this pace, he’ll be in the Player of the Year discussion. In his last two games, Colson has 60 points and 29 rebounds. In his last three games, Notre Dame’s undersized big man has also connected on 4 of 6 three point attempts showing his game is well rounded.
Notre Dame Back in the Top 25?
Notre Dame’s recent skid knocked the Irish out of the Top 25 last week, but wins over Wake Forest and a win over a top 15 team this week should be enough to push the Irish back into the rankings.
Notre Dame Basketball Set Up Nicely
Despite that four game losing streak, the Irish find themselves in really good shape with these back to back wins. Notre Dame is currently in 6th place in the ACC but are just 1.5 games out of first place with four straight games against unranked opponents on tap. The Irish will travel to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College on Tuesday night and then hit the road again this weekend when they visit Raleigh to take on North Carolina State.
The Eagles are just 9-17 on the season while the Wolf Pack are just over .500 at 14-12. No game can be taken for granted in the ACC, but after playing Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Florida State over their last four games, this upcoming stretch is a welcomed site for the Irish.
If Notre Dame takes care of business over the next four games before their regular season finale against Louisville, they will have a great chance to earn a double-double bye in the ACC Tournament.