The No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers faced a stiff test on the road at Florida State, but the Hoos overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat the Seminoles, 59-55. Devon Hall led the way for Virginia with 17 points, Ty Jerome added 15, and Kyle Guy had 13 in the win.
With the win, the Cavaliers improve to 23-1 and 12-0 in the ACC, matching their previous best start in conference history.
After giving up 32 points in the first half, the most for Virginia since playing at West Virginia, the Cavalier defense toughened up in the second half and held Florida State to just 23 points. The Seminoles didn’t score a single field goal for the final 9:01 of the game.
FSU got 10 points from MJ Walker and nine from Phil Cofer. The Seminoles finished with 11 turnovers, leading to 15 points for Virginia. The Hoos had six turnovers in the game, with just one coming in the final 20 minutes.
Florida State won the opening tip-off, and CJ Walker promptly buried a three pointer to start the scoring. Devon Hall got the Hoos on the board after rebounding his own miss, then put Virginia up 4-3 on another driving lay-up. Phil Cofer drilled a deep three from straight out with five seconds on the shot clock to put the Seminoles back on top, and Virginia came up empty on back-to-back possessions thanks to uncharacteristic turnovers. Cofer hit another three to put FSU up 9-4, and Kyle Guy missed Virginia’s first three point opportunity.
A missed three from Cofer (their first on four attempts) led to a Ty Jerome floater, and Jerome used quick hands to straight up steal the ball from Walker and draw a foul (FSU’s first) with 14:41 left in the first half.
Coming out of the ensuing timeout, Guy hit a three off of a screen from the top of the arc to tie the game at nine, but Walker buried another ridiculously long three pointer to get the lead back. Florida State’s first 12 points were all from three, making four of their first six attempts (67%) before Ike Obiago made a free throw.
Jerome pulled Virginia back to within one at 12-11 after a pull-up jumper, but FSU raced to a 20-13 lead thanks to a layup, jumper, and dunk over the span of about two and a half minutes. Hall pump-faked and squeezed off a three pointer, but Christ Koumadje got away with basket interference to make it 22-16 with 9:07 to play.
Walker buried another three to take a nine-point lead with 7:27 remaining. On Virginia’s next possession, Isaiah Wilkins hit an elbow jumper, but Terrence Mann scored on a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to reestablish the lead. A missed runner by Hall set up an FSU alley oop, giving the upset-minded Seminoles an 11 point lead (the biggest deficit of the season for UVA) with just under six minutes to play in the first half.
Mamadi Diakite scored on a shot off the glass down low, pushing the deficit back to single digits, and Hall made two free throws to close the gap to seven at 29-22 with 3:52 to play in the opening half.
Virginia’s defense stepped up, holding FSU scoreless for 4:15, but three straight turnovers on the offensive end kept the Hoos from closing the gap. Two free throws from Florida State pushed the lead back to double digits at 32-22 with a minute left in the half. Jack Salt would get to the line with :35 left in the half, but missed both. Misses by FSU and Guy sent both teams into the half with the Seminoles leading 32-22, Virginia’s biggest halftime deficit of the season.
Florida State shot an impressive 47.8% from the field in the first half, including going 5-for-10 from three. They only turned the ball over six times and got 10 points from their bench. Virginia, conversely, shot 34.6% from the floor and just 2-for-7 from three to go with five turnovers to four assists. Hall had nine points for the Hoos, but Guy struggled, going 1-for-7 in the first half.
Eight of the 10 Seminoles that saw the court in the first half scored, led by Cofer with eight.
Jerome started off the second half with a jumper for Virginia, but Walker answered with a baseline drive to push it right back to 10. Another Jerome floater made it 34-26, and Guy got his second bucket of the game to drop (a floater) to help the Hoos cut it to 34-28. An outstanding rebound by Wilkins led to a run out by Hall and a block call on Walker (his second). Guy missed a three, but Diakite held strong on the other end and came up with a big rebound to give Virginia another chance to cut into FSU’s lead.
Hall hit his second three of the game with 15:33 to play to make it 34-31, and Mflondu Kabengele pushed the home team’s lead to five on a tough turn-around jumper. Another Guy floater off the glass closed the gap back to three for the Hoos with 14:44 remaining.
With 14:29 to play, Wilkins picked up his third foul, heading to the bench. Florida State extended their lead back to seven at 43-36, but Guy hit another three to make it a four point game with 11:49 to play. A miss by Kabengele gave possession back to the Hoos, and Guy made the most of it with another three to close the gap to 43-42 with 10:56 remaining in the game.
After a steal, Jerome gave Virginia their first lead since it was 4-2, but back to back makes by Koumadje and Walker pushed the Seminoles’ advantage back out to three points. De’Andre Hunter got on the board with his first bucket - a monster follow dunk on a Guy miss on a fast break - with 7:39 to play to make it 47-46.
A long two for Wilkins put the Cavaliers back on top at 48-47 with just over six minutes to play, and an offensive foul on the Seminoles gave the ball back to Virginia with the lead. Hall drew another block, hit both, and put the Hoos in front 50-47.
Florida State hit one of two free throws to pull back within two points to play with 4:49 remaining, and Jerome buried a deep three from the sideline as the shot clock ticked down, giving Virginia a 53-48 lead, its biggest of the game.
Two more points from the free throw line, this time from Diakite, gave the Hoos a six point advantage with 3:38 left in the game. Braian Angola answered with two free throws of his own to make it 55-51. Guy missed a floater, leading to an offensive possession for FSU that saw Angola hit two more free throws and pull within one possession.
Wilkins came through with a huge bucket in the lane after several fakes, but he was whistled for a foul down the other end, giving him five fouls. Walker hit one of the ensuing free throws with 1:52 to play, allowing the Hoos to cling to a three point lead. Hunter had a good look at a layup and a better look at the follow, but it rimmed out, giving FSU to tie the game.
Virginia’s defense held tough, forcing Angola to attempt a long three over Hunter. Diakite came up with the rebound, and a Virginia timeout with 1:07 let the Hoos game plan. Guy missed a three with :48 left, but Florida State tipped the rebound out and Virginia retained possession.
Jerome was called for a foul with 10 seconds to play, leading to one made free throw from Walker to make it a two point game at 57-55. The Hoos were able to inbounds the ball to Hunter, who calmly made both to give Virginia the 59-55 lead and victory.
Next up, Virginia hosts GameDay on Saturday as they face Virginia Tech at 6:15pm.