Notre Dame-Florida St. Preview
Notre Dame stayed in the mix for a high seed in the ACC tournament by again avoiding a losing streak its last time out.
The No. 23 Fighting Irish will try to aid their chances by sending Florida State to its longest skid in 11 seasons Saturday.
Notre Dame (19-8, 10-5) hasn't lost back-to-back games in nearly two full seasons and bounced back from last weekend's 63-62 defeat at Georgia Tech with a 69-58 win at Wake Forest on Wednesday.
The Irish held the Demon Deacons to 31.4 percent shooting and a 4-for-24 performance from 3-point range, their best defensive effort beyond the arc this season.
"I'm really proud of our group because I thought for us to win, we had to defend," coach Mike Brey said. "That's an area we must continue to work on and improve on for March."
Notre Dame will try to close this month by remaining well in contention for one of the conference tournament's top four seeds and an automatic spot in the quarterfinals. The Irish are tied for fourth place with Virginia and Duke.
Notre Dame is one game behind second-place Louisville and Miami, a team the Irish will face at home Wednesday. It concludes the regular season next Saturday with a visit from North Carolina State.
First, the Irish will try to end their three-game road stretch by handing Florida State a sixth consecutive defeat. The Seminoles (16-12, 6-10) haven't endured a skid that long since dropping nine straight Feb. 2-March 3, 2005.
"We've just got to keep fighting, don't give up," guard Dwayne Bacon told the school's official website. "It's never too late to make our run. We can make a run from these last two home games and take it to Washington, D.C., for the ACC tournament. And who knows what we can do there?"
Florida State has allowed 80.2 points per game during the losing streak and forced a season-low five turnovers in an 80-65 loss at No. 15 Duke on Thursday.
Notre Dame is the ACC's third-best scoring team with 77.7 points per game but hasn't topped 70 in its past two. The Irish won 83-63 in their lone matchup with Florida State last season, as Zach Auguste led the way with a career-high 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting.
The senior forward recorded his 15th double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds against Wake Forest.
Demetrius Jackson contributed 18 points and seven rebounds in Notre Dame's first win in three all-time matchups against Florida State. The Irish's leading scorer (16.4) has had a pair of subpar shooting efforts on this road stretch, going 5 for 13 in each game while scoring a combined 27 points.
Florida State leading scorer Malik Beasley (16.0) has fared even worse during the skid, shooting 28.8 percent, and he's averaged 8.8 points in his last four.
Notre Dame, 5-4 on the road, was edged 76-74 in its only other visit to Florida State in January 2014. The Seminoles have lost back-to-back home games after winning eight of their first 10.
Florida State topped then-No. 13 Virginia 69-62 for one of those victories Jan. 17, but lost its three subsequent games against ranked teams to drop to 4-21 in those matchups since the beginning of 2012-13.