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Inside the box score: a coming out party for Devin Vassell

The freshman sparked FSU off the bench.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Notre Dame is one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the ACC, but anyone can get hot. At one point, the Domers were 8-16 (50%) from deep and held an 8-point second half lead after Prentiss Hubb, a 25% shooter, knocked down his 3rd three of the game. But the Irish failed to make another 3-pointer in the final 15 minutes, and FSU turned that eight point deficit into a seven point victory.
  2. Just when it seems Florida State is finally getting over the turnover hump, a game like this happens. You can blame ND’s luck in the 3-point lottery, or any number of FSU 3s that went in and out, but if FSU wasn’t careless with the ball, it wins this game easily. Notre Dame had 10 steals, and juniors DJ Harvey and John Mooney each tied their career-high. It was the most steals ND’s had in an ACC game in over two years. Florida State is still 7th in conference play in turnover%, and allows the fewest live ball turnovers of any ACC team, but this kind of sloppy play leads to 13-seeds upsetting 4-seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
  3. Hello, Devin Vassell. The defensive light seems to be coming on of late, and it shows in the Coach Hamilton’s rotation. This is five straight games in which Vassell has played more than Anthony Polite, and four of five where Vassell has played more than PJ Savoy. If they’re all fighting to stay in front of ball-handlers, Devin’s length and athleticism gives him the upper-hand against the rest of the FSU bench. Against Notre Dame, he set a new career best for minutes (22) and rebounds (7). He scored his second most points of the year (13), going 3-3 from deep. He also had a nasty put back dunk, and came out of nowhere to block a 3-point attempt. Vassell has an offensive rating (points FSU scores per 100 player possessions) of 124.8, which is easily exceeding the Jonathan Isaac’s freshman record under Ham.
  4. FSU’s offense remains above the 90th percentile (32nd of 353 D1 teams) largely due to one thing: offensive rebounding. Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey noted in the post game that the difference was Florida State’s ability to get some huge offensive boards down the stretch. Terance Mann’s Sports Center Top 10 putback with 1:23 to play gave FSU its first multiple-possession lead of the game. FSU grabbed 39% of its own misses in the contest.

5. FSU won 68-61 in a 65 possession game. The win gives Florida State 10 ACC wins with three games to play. It’s the 6th time in the last 11 seasons FSU has won 10+ conference games, joining eilite company with Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia. currently projects Florida State to finish 12-6, with 13-5 slightly more probable than 11-7. Virginia Tech also projects at 12-6, so the Hokies’ visit to Tallahassee next week could be for the 4th seed in the ACC Tournament (and the coveted double-bye). FSU is now 22-6 on the season, which ties the 2016-17 team for the 3rd best record in program history through 28 games.