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Auguste steps up with 26 points as Notre Dame drops Florida State

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Florida State has three 7-footers on its roster.

That didn’t faze Zach Auguste.

The 6-10 forward came up big for Notre Dame, scoring a career-high 26 points in an 83-63 victory against the Seminoles on Saturday at Purcell Pavilion. Auguste also had seven rebounds.

“I struggled against Michigan State’s size so I came and tried to make a statement,” Auguste said. “I wanted to show people that I could bang with the bigs.”

Auguste scored four points on 2-for-7 shooting in the Dec. 3 overtime victory against the Spartans. He has rebounded by reaching double figures in scoring for three straight games.

“He got us started scoring inside and that was a key,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “He’s good facing the bucket, making decisions and he’s really good at knowing how to roll off of great passing perimeter players.

“That’s a big step for him and his confidence that he did it in a league game.”

Guard Demetrius Jackson scored 18 points and Jerian Grant added 18 points, five rebounds and five assists to aid the No. 25 Irish in the early ACC opener.

“It was just a tough matchup for us,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.

Notre Dame (10-1, 1-0 ACC) struggled in its first season as a member of the ACC. The team went 6-12 and got bounced in the first round of the conference tournament.

Year 2 is off to a strong start.

“Last year we were trying to figure out who we were in the ACC,” Auguste said. “This year, we’re trying to put a footprint and make a statement.”

Auguste was the catalyst. He scored 16 points in the first half. He ended the half by getting past 7-3 center Boris Bojanovsky on the way to an emphatic dunk.

“[He went] more to the basket,” Grant said. “He started the Michigan State game with a couple of jumpers and we told him ‘go inside with these guys. They’re tall, but they’re not shot blockers.’ He did that [Saturday].

“He’s been talking all week about how he wanted to come out and play a great game after the Michigan State game. We gave him the ball and he came through.”

The Irish used an 18-2 run in the first half to turn a four-point deficit into a 33-21 lead. The Seminoles (4-5, 0-1) never recovered and Notre Dame extended its winning streak to six games.

“It’s just good to be 1-0,” Brey said. “I’m thrilled about where we are at. I think this is another confidence-giver for our group.”