"This game I feel like I just came out a little more aggressively and my teammates found me". It's a good feeling right now.
Notre Dame's wins over Wake Forest and Florida State have the Irish thinking back to their five-game winning streak to begin ACC play. The Irish finish their regular season with a trio of rematches, first at home against Georgia Tech - last second victors over Notre Dame in Atlanta two weeks ago - the Eagles, and a road tilt at conference contender Louisville - vanquished by the Irish on January 4 in South Bend.
Terance Mann scored 15 for Florida State (21-5, 9-4). When it's all said and done, Notre Dame should do enough to pull off this win. Up by nine, Notre Dame stretched its lead to double digits in less than three minutes.
Colson almost blew the lid off Purcell Pavilion with a personal 7-0 run, highlighted by a three-point play and a tip-in of a V.J. Beachem missed 3, pushing Notre Dame's lead to 17 points with 15:39 to play.
The rebound also was No. 10 of the night, which gave Colson his league-leading 16th double double and 20th of his career. The physicality was especially efficient given Florida State went 7-of-22 from the free-throw line. Rathan-Mayes scored 11 points but just one in the second stanza.
Another career night for Bonzie Colson lifted Notre Dame to its second-straight win. And when Notre Dame plays with its downshifted lineup, Colson is the "big man" at 6-5.
"That was probably the best we've played in league play on both ends of the floor", Brey said.
Small ball just was better. Beachem, Farrell (he had 15 points and nine assists Saturday) and Vasturia (he had 15 points and seven rebounds) have carried the offensive load for the Irish-with all four averaging between 14.0 and 16.1 points. "He's having a lot of fun and right now we're going to live with some turnovers because he has to make a lot of decisions with (the ball)".
As high-energy a first half as the Irish (and their fans) have had all year saw the home team three times push out to double-digit leads.
It marked the first time in six games, since a home game against Syracuse three weeks earlier, that Notre Dame led at intermission. Thirty-eight Irish points in the paint likewise lessened the lane carnage absorbed on the other end.
Jonathan Isaac was scoreless in the first half. As a team, Florida State is scoring 84.8 points per game on 49% shooting from the floor, 37.4% from behind the arc and 69.6% from the foul line this season.
The Irish needed a big effort in this one.
"That's what really did it, because once we can defend, rebound and outlet, that's when we're special", Colson said.
It was certainly expected of this team to rebound from a tough road trip, but to do it to the extent they did against any ACC team is worth noting. That would be the highest seed in school history. The 6-foot-10 monster down low torched the Irish last time and isn't showing signs of slowing down.
Senior associate athletics director John Heisler has been following Irish athletic fortunes since 1978.
Mike Brey's crew came into this one feeling like it owed the Seminoles something after Florida State handed the Irish their first loss after five consecutive wins to open Atlantic Coast Conference play. They're also 5-1 against the spread in their last six games after covering, but where they have struggled for bettors has been as a road underdog.
Both teams are playing their third league game in seven days.