FSU falters in first half, falls on road to finish regular season

One of Florida State’s worst first halves of the season sunk the Seminoles in a disheartening road loss.

RaiQuan Gray had 15 points and 10 rebounds — his fourth double-double of the season — but the Seminoles had just two assists to nine turnovers, were outrebounded and lethargic on defense in the first 20 minutes en route to a 83-73 loss at Notre Dame.

“It was a Florida State Seminole off day. We didn’t play well enough to win the game,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We just got beat by a team that played better than us today.”

FSU finished just 3-4 on the road in the ACC this season.

Gray fouled out in the final seconds but scored in double figures for a 12th straight game. Scottie Barnes added 17 points and nine rebounds, one shy of his first double-double.

FSU (15-5, 11-4 ACC) missed out on a chance to claim the league’s regular-season title when Virginia defeated Louisville.

Prentiss Hubb scored 22 points for Notre Dame, which shot 23 of 54 (42.6 percent) from the floor and 24 of 30 (80 percent) from the free-throw line. The Fighting Irish (10-14, 7-11) battled depth issues down the stretch as Nikola Djogo fouled out with 3:11 left, but they won despite using just seven players.

FSU dug a massive early deficit, falling behind 47-31 at the half as Hubb had 13 points. The Seminoles were 11 of 28 in the first half, shooting 39.3 percent, but were clearly out of sync on the defensive end and lost the rebounding edge 19-13. 

M.J. Walker was 0 for 6 from the floor early but finished with 12 points on 4 of 16 shooting. Sardaar Calhoun had 12 points, while Anthony Polite had eight points and six rebounds.

FSU shot 24 of 64 (40.6 percent) from the floor but was just 6 of 24 (25 percent) from 3-point range. The Seminoles made 15 of 20 (75 percent) of their free-throw attempts.

“We have proven that we are a good shooting team — we didn’t shoot well today,” Hamilton said. “We’ve proved that we’re a pretty good defensive team — we didn’t defend very well. We didn’t draw a number of fouls we thought when we went strong to the basket. But you have those days. Sometimes it’s not as much about what you didn’t do, you have to give a team credit for how they played. They outplayed us.”


FSU’s bench was called for a technical foul with 13:53 to go in the second half. Hamilton said he didn’t know who it was called on and didn’t get an explanation from the officiating crew.

“I don’t really know what happened with the technical. I don’t know why he gave us the technical,” Hamilton said. “It seemed as though this was one of those days where you have the officials I thought were a little more sensitive today than what I had noticed in the past. A lot of times when there is an issue that they are concerned about they will mention it to you. But today was one of those days where that wasn’t one of those day. … There’s no doubt that our team, our kids, maybe some of our coaches may have been a little mouthy but no one disrespected anybody. There was nothing that I felt was disrespectful unless you wanted to be overly sensitive.

“The game is over. We’re not going to get it back. Me complaining about the referring, the officials, is not going to do any good. We either earned it or we didn’t but we got it.”


The FSU-Notre Dame box score can be viewed here.


Next up for the Seminoles is an ACC Tournament quarterfinal game on Thursday. FSU would be the No. 1 or No. 2 seed and has earned a double bye. The NCAA Tournament selection show will be held on March 14.