The Daily Nole

Seminoles Secure 69-62 Victory Over Virginia Cavaliers

Phil Kelly/FSU athletics

Florida State ran its win streak to two on Sunday night with an impressive 69-62 victory over No. 13 Virginia at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

Neither team looked especially good in the first half. After about 13 minutes of game time, the score was 13-12 Seminoles with both teams shooting under 40 percent. By halftime, it would be 28-25 Virginia in an offensively challenged game. FSU’s Malik Beasley hit a 3-pointer right before the half ended to bring it within one possession.

Besides that however, the Seminoles continued to be abysmal from 3-point land, shooting only 20 percent compared to Virginia’s 40 percent in the first half. Jarquez Smith was the surprise of the half, scoring 8 points on 3-for-3 shooting with three rebounds. Dwayne Bacon led all scorers with 11 points.

From the very beginning, it was clear that the Seminoles were having trouble with the hybrid defense Virginia was running. A glaring lack on an inside presence reared its ugly head, as the guards and forwards couldn’t do anything while attacking. When this is the case, the shooters need to be hitting outside attempts at a fairly threatening rate. Florida State’s inability to do so severely hurt the offensive rhythm.

The Seminoles got off to a ferocious start to begin the second half, outscoring Virginia 9-2 in the first four minutes. Beasley led the scoring charge with five points in that time span. Virginia would start to fight back however, and the two teams traded the lead for a solid five minutes. The Bacon and Beasley show would then resume, as the pair came alive again. They combined for 21 points on 6-for-7 shooting in the second half.

Of course, they were not the only ones that contributed to the FSU lead. Senior guard Devon Bookert had two huge 3-pointers and Xavier Rathan-Mayes had eight points total. As a team, FSU shot 63 percent in the half, a much needed improvement after a 25-point beginning to the game. FSU possessed a 60-55 lead with one minute remaining.

As with many FSU basketball games, the victory was hard earned. Constant fouling meant the Seminoles would have to convert free throws, which they did to secure the win.

For a second straight game, Florida State was efficient from deep, finishing 6-for-13 on Sunday. The Seminoles shot an astounding 66 percent from beyond the arc in the second half, exactly the remedy for a strong defense like Virginia. It opened up the paint and allowed players like Bacon and XRM to slice through the lane.

Bacon, Beasley and Rathan-Mayes all finished in double-figures scoring for the Seminoles, tallying 18, 17 and 11 points respectively. Bacon also ripped down a game-high 9 rebounds.

London Perrantes led Virginia with 19 points, but was just 4-for-13 from the field and 0-for-6 inside the 3-point line. Anthony Gill added 13 points while the Seminoles held Virginia leading scorer Malcolm Brogdon to 10 points on just 4-for-17 from the field.

This was a huge win for a struggling FSU team trying to find its rhythm in the ACC. A few early losses had initially discouraged many from thinking that this team could reach its potential. Sunday’s victory showed that they are still in contention for a tournament spot and can play with the rest of the teams in the conference.

Things won’t get much easier for Florida State as the Seminoles are back in action Wednesday to face Louisville on the road.

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