No. 7 FSU (25-5, 15-4) defeated Notre Dame (18-12, 9-10) behind Trent Forrest’s buzzer beater for the Seminoles’ first ever win in South Bend.
Notre Dame got off to a hot start and an early 10-5 lead at the first media timeout after back-to-back threes from Prentiss Hubb and John Mooney. Mooney scored seven points in the first 4:19 of the game on 3-4 shooting. After FSU cut the deficit to one, Hubb went on an 8-0 run of his own to give the Irish an early nine-point lead.
After the ‘Noles cut the lead down to one again, the Irish built a 27-21 lead at the U-8 media timeout as they stayed scorching from the field. Notre Dame made 11 of their first 19 shots, while Florida State made nine of 20. The Seminoles continued to hang around through the half, entering the final media timeout of the half down just three, but Hubb and Mooney wouldn’t squander the Notre Dame lead.
The unstoppable duo of Hubb and Mooney built a 42-35 halftime lead for the Irish. The pair combined for 35 first half points on 13-17 shooting. Hubb also added four assists, while Mooney grabbed nine boards. Notre Dame shot 56% from the field, while the Seminoles shot 43%. The Irish were also 7-15 from deep, while the ‘Noles made just two three-pointers. Trent Forrest led the way for the ‘Noles with eight points on 4-7 shooting. Dominik Olejniczak and Raiquan Gray also provided six points each.
FSU and Devin Vassell quickly cut the lead down to four within the two minutes of the half, but 10 straight points from Dane Goodwin pushed the Irish lead to 11 with 15 minutes left. Vassell continued to try to keep the ‘Noles in the game, as his and-1 jumper cut the deficit to eight at the U-12 media timeout. The sophomore started the second half 3-4 from the field with seven points in the first eight minutes.
Not much else was going FSU’s way in the second half. Notre Dame continued to extend their lead, as Hubb’s fifth three of the night made it a 61-48 ND lead. Outside of Vassell, the Seminoles started the second half 2-9 from the field without a three pointer. The outlook looked bleak for Florida State, but M.J. Walker had other ideas.
Walker hit the Seminoles’ first three of the half with 8:40 left in the game to cut the lead to 10 at the U-8 media timeout. The three lit a fire under Walker and the ‘Noles, as the junior scored 13 straight FSU points to cut the lead down to two with 4:55 remaining. A Vassell floater tied the game up at 63 with 3:19 remaining, as FSU was on a 15-2 run. Rex Pflueger responded for Notre Dame, with a three-pointer to give the Irish a 66-63 lead with 2:54 remaining.
Walker continued to carry the ‘Noles, as he knocked down three straight free throws to tie the game at 66 with 2:40 remaining. Goodwin and Malik Osborne both traded two free throws to tie the game at 68 with 2:22 remaining. Hubb continued to bite the ‘Noles, as he made a step-back jumper over Osborne to give the Irish a three-point lead with 1:05 remaining.
FSU’s senior leader Forrest came through with an and-1 to tie the game up at 71 with just under a minute left to play. After Hubb missed a layup, Florida State took just their second lead of the game with three seconds left in the game as Forrest put back his own miss to give the ‘Noles a two-point lead. A failed last-second heave for the Irish gave FSU a 73-71 win as Forrest ended the game on a 5-0 run.
FSU simply stole this game from Notre Dame with the clutch play of Forrest and Walker. The ‘Noles led for all of 19 seconds and won a 40-minute basketball game. Yes, you read that right, FSU led for just 19 seconds and escaped with a win to sweep the season series versus the Irish. The Seminoles trailed by 13 with 8:41 left in the game, but outscored Notre Dame 25-10 the rest of the way.
Florida State’s big three of Walker, Forrest, and Vassell combined for 48 of FSU’s 73 points on the night. Walker posted 16 in the second half alone and 21 for the game on 6-10 shooting and 4-8 from deep. Forrest tacked on 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Vassell notched 13 points on 6-11 shooting and added four boards and two steals.
This team refuses to quit, no matter the situation. It’s going to take a full 40-minute, team-effort to knock this team out of the NCAA tournament. FSU just keeps coming at you in waves and doesn’t give you a second to take a deep breath on the court.
Florida State can clinch at least a share of the ACC regular season title at home on senior night against Boston College on Saturday at 4:30 PM.