CHICAGO (AP) — Matt Farrell scored a career-high 28 points to lead Notre Dame’s potent three-guard attack in an 84-69 victory Saturday over Florida State.
Rex Pflueger added a career-high 19 points and T.J. Gibbs matched him with 19 after a poor-shooting first half (2 of 12) as Mike Brey’s Irish (15-10, 5-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their second straight after losing seven in a row.
C.J. Walker had 16 points, Phil Cofer, 12 and P.J. Savoy, 11 — all in the first half — for the Seminoles (17-8, 6-7 ACC), who lost their second straight and left coach Leonard Hamilton still seeking his 500th career victory.
Both teams struggled shooting early — Florida State went 5½ minutes between field goals and Notre Dame nearly five minutes — before the Irish found their stroke from three-point range hitting six of its first 12 on way to its biggest lead of the half, 32-22, with 3:42 before the half.
The Irish then answered a 6-0 Seminole run and took a 40-34 halftime lead on the fourth three-pointer by Farrell, who had 14 points.
Florida State’s height began to wear down the Irish on the boards in the second half.
The Seminoles had a 16-9 edge and eventually caught the Irish 52-52 with 10:29 left on Walker’s three pointer.
But Gibbs made three free throws to give the Irish a 61-56 lead with 7:49 left.
His driving bucket, combined with FSU’s 3½-minute scoring, gave the Irish a 70-58 lead with 3:57 remaining.
Florida State: The Seminoles had won four of its last six games in the ACC prior to Saturday’s loss.
FSU has five games remaining, three at home starting with Tuesday’s game against No. 16 Clemson, which FSU also plays Feb. 28 on the road.
The combined records of the five remaining teams is 28-30.
The Seminoles likely will need a good ACC Tournament run to receive an NCAA bid.
Notre Dame: The Irish, who have played most of the ACC season without Bonzie Colson (broken foot) and D.J. Harvey (knee), got another strong start from Farrell, who had missed five games with a sprained ankle and was starting for the third straight game.
He had 19 points in Tuesday’s 96-85 victory over Boston College that broke a seven-game ACC losing streak.
Florida State: Hosts No. 16 Clemson Wednesday.
Notre Dame: Visits No. 21 North Carolina Monday.
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