Despite FSU's lead occasionally slipping into double figures, this one felt tight all the way. It seemed inevitable when Notre Dame used a 10-2 run to tie the game at 74 with less than 30 seconds left. FSU went to Ian Miller, who calmly dribbled the clock down to 10 seconds before making his move. He went left, beat his man, drove into traffic and put up a one-handed 7-foot jumper.
Notre Dame's wild attempt at a 3-pointer went wide right and FSU escaped with a 76-74 win.
The Noles are now 13-5, 4-2, and will enter Saturday's game at Duke tied for 4th place in the conference. With a front-loaded schedule, FSU might have two games in the eleven following Duke in which they will be the underdog.
This was an offensive show from the opening tip. FSU had the luxury of facing a defense which doesn't pressure the ball at all times, and they took advantage by playing inside out, developing angles, and knocking down shots. For the game FSU made 8-16 3s.
But as good as FSU was on offense, Notre Dame was barely a step behind (and PG Eric Atkins was absolutely brilliant). They exploited FSU's bigs by drawing them out and forcing them to hedge of Irish shooters, and then beating them back to the block. Drive after Notre Dame drive ended up with FSU funneling the player into the double team only to watch them thread the needle on exactly the right pass. Had Pat Connaughton - a great shooter - not had an off night, Notre Dame could have easily pulled the upset. But that's why you play the games. You don't get to shoot with your stats.
Every FSU run was answered with a Notre Dame recovery (aided tremendously by Notre Dame offensive rebounds), and the final run tied the game in the waning seconds. But then it was Miller time, and the senior stepped up and delivered a huge win.
Aaron Thomas, who is quickly entering the race for 1st Team All Conference (just joking, this is still the ACC and the same people still vote) had 20 points and 4 assists. He made all six of his FTs and both his 3s. Okaro White had 12 points and 11 rebounds, Ian Miller had 11, Devon Bookert had 10, and Boris Bojanovsky matched his career high with 29 minutes, and he scored eight points, grabbed seven boards, and added three assists, including a beautiful 3/4 court lead to Aaron Thomas for FSU's last bucket before Miller's game winner.
Now the Noles have until Saturday to prepare for the Blue Devils.