- Associated Press - Saturday, December 13, 2014

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Florida State got Devon Bookert back after missing five games with a foot injury and lost scoring leader Aaron Thomas for the season because of academic troubles.

It’s been that kind of season so far for the Seminoles, who have struggled all season to get its best players on the floor because of injuries and illnesses. The Seminoles couldn’t get going offensively without Thomas in an 83-63 loss to No. 25 Notre Dame on Saturday night.

“For us, we’ve had a lot of moving part this season. It’s basically more of the same,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We have a young squad. We have some youngsters that I think will continue to keep working hard. We’ll get a few more games under our belt and continue to develop our identity and get more consistent.”

The biggest struggle against Notre Dame was its inability to slow Notre Dame forward Zach Auguste, who had a career-high 26 points and added seven rebounds as he bounced back from a disappointing performance 10 days earlier in an overtime win over Michigan State.

“I came and wanted to make a statement and just show people that I can bang with the bigs,” Auguste said.

Although Florida State (4-5) has three players 7-feet or taller, the Irish (10-1) outscored the Seminoles 46-34 in the paint. Auguste was a big reason why.

“It was a huge day for him because the last high-level game he wasn’t very good,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said about Auguste’s 2-of-7 shooting with four rebounds against the Spartans. “All he heard about was those big guys. For him to perform like that was great. He got us started scoring inside, and that was a key.”

Hamilton said the Seminoles weren’t ready for a player as mobile as Auguste, who was 11 of 15 from the field.

“It’s the first time we’ve played against a guy that moves around that athletic that plays the five position,” Hamilton said. “We knew going into this game because they basically start four perimeter guys, a mobile five-man who is more of a power forward, it would be more of a challenge. It proved to be exactly the problem we had with this team.”

Auguste got help from guards Jerian Grant and Demetrius Jackson, who each finished with 18 points. Notre Dame took control with an 18-2 run midway through the first half and a 20-4 run midway through the second half.

Montay Brandon led the Seminoles with 14 points and Bookert added 11.

Brey said he pleased with how the Irish put the game away early in the second half.

“We talked about that at halftime. Could we put them away to start the second half? I’m really proud we did that,” Brey said.

TIP-INS

Florida State dropped to 10-14 in ACC openers. The Seminoles play five more nonconference games before getting back into ACC play against Virginia Tech on Jan. 6.

Notre Dame is 9-0 at home this season after going 13-6 last season. The Irish play three more nonconference games before resuming league play against Georgia Tech on Jan. 3.

STAT LINE

Florida State had a season-low eight free-throw attempts, making six.

Notre Dame, which leads the nation in field goal percentage, shot 50 percent or better for the 10th time in 11 games. Grant had five assists to become the sixth Irish player ever with at least 1,000 points and 500 assists.

UP NEXT

Florida State hosts North Florida on Wednesday.

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