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Bridgewater, NJ native Matt Farrell (Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

Bridgewater, NJ native Matt Farrell (Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)

After Duke and North Carolina put on an all-time classic in the first semi-final of the ACC Tournament on Friday night, Florida State and Notre Dame had the unenviable task to follow up in the other semi-final game of the night at the Barclays Center.

Notre Dame withstood a late charge from Florida State to hold on for a 77-73 win in the semi-finals of the ACC Tournament. The Irish will face Duke in the championship game on Saturday at 9 p.m.

The first half was a nip and tuck affair through the first 12 minutes of play as both Notre Dame and Florida State shot poorly to start the game. With 8:40 remaining in the half, Notre Dame held a 19-18 lead. From that point forward, Notre Dame went on a 23-8 run to end the half. Bonzie Colson led the Irish with 11 points in the first half as the Irish shot 8-of-15 from three-point land in the first 20 minutes of play.

Another reason for Notre Dame’s big first-half run was Florida State mistakes. The Seminoles turned the ball over 10 times, which turned into 13 Notre Dame points. Florida State also shot 0-for-7 from behind the arc as Florida State shot just 40 percent from the field in the first half.

“From the offensive end on our end, I thought we weren’t very aggressive,” said Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton. “Starting our game off, our game plan from the beginning was to be more aggressive, like we were in the second half.”

The second half saw Florida State begin to chip away at Notre Dame’s lead. For every shot the Seminoles would make however, Notre Dame would counter with a made shot of their own. Even though Florida State was down by 11 at the 11:27 mark of the second half, they were dominating the rebound battle 26-15 and points in the paint 34-24.

At the nine minute mark of the second half, both teams went on a three-point shooting barrage as four consecutive threes (two for Notre Dame and two for Florida State) resulted in Florida State cutting Notre Dame’s lead to eight. Notre Dame built the lead to 13 point deep in the second half. Just when all hope seemed lost for the Seminoles, a 7-0 Florida State run cut the Notre Dame lead to six with 90 seconds remaining in regulation.

Notre Dame went scoreless for almost four minutes until Colson hit one of two free throws. Two missed front ends of 1-and-1’s for the Irish led to opportunities for Florida State to cut into the Notre Dame lead but three missed shots and four Irish free throws in the final 20 seconds sealed the win for Notre Dame. Now the Irish moves it’s attention to Duke which Coach Brey knows will be a tall task.

“We got to score. We’re going to have to score,” said Brey. “You’re not stopping them. They’re a gifted offensive team. We’ve got to put numbers on the board.”

Notre Dame was led by both New Jersey native Steve Vasturia and Bonzie Colson who finished with 18 points. Matt Farrell, who is from Bridgewater, NJ, finished with 15 points and six assists.

Florida State was led by Dwayne Bacon who scored 18 points for the Seminoles, who are waiting to find out their NCAA Tournament seed on Sunday.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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