The Virginia men's basketball team returned home after being away since February 6. During this time, the team traveled to College Park, twice, and Blacksburg once, and it was clear that fatigue was a factor on Monday as the Cavaliers fell to the Seminoles in a lopsided 69-50 defeat. Sophomore guard Sylven Landesberg was held to only 4 points.
After a sluggish past couple of games, Virginia head coach Tony Bennett changed the starting lineup, replacing Bub Evans and Sammy Zeglinski with Calvin Baker and Jeff Jones. Bennett had previously used the same lineup for nine consecutive games.
"I told our guys I can handle losses," Bennett said. "But the manner in which we lost the last couple games has been frustrating."
While this Virginia team was building a reputation for its defensive prowess, leading the ACC at the beginning of the week by allowing only 61.0 points per game, last night it was the Seminoles that showcased remarkable defense. The Cavaliers' 50 points are the fewest they've scored in the history of John Paul Jones Arena (2006).
"We did not play hard. We did not play smart. We played selfishly," said Virginia forward Mike Scott, who had 10 points and 6 rebounds. "I do not think we were fatigued. Our minds were fatigued. We just did not play smart."
Florida State was able to shoot 50% from both the floor and beyond the three-point line. Virginia, on the other hand, shot only 37.5% from the floor and an abysmal 27.8% (5-18) from three-point land.
Virginia, who is seventh in the country in fewest turnovers, allowed 12 turnovers tonight which led to 21 Florida State points. UVa, on the other hand, was only able to put together 4 points off Florida State's 10 turnovers.
"I think when we get down, or adversity strikes, we are not able to muster up enough to rally from it," Bennett said. "That is a concern. The mental toughness was lacking today – fatigue maybe was there, but the mental toughness was not there. Take your pick. Tonight it was tough."
"You cannot lose your heart, and I think that was taken again tonight.…You have to be an underdog and fight like crazy."
"You come into every game starting fresh and focusing on the task at hand," team captain forward Jerome Meyinsse said. "We tried to do that tonight, we were not successful, and we will have to do that on Saturday."
Virginia faces Clemson on the road on Saturday, in their fourth game in 8 days and the third road game in four contests.