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Virginia upsets No. 5 Florida State, 61-56

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Diakite leads with 19 points and 9 rebounds.

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers got the win they so badly needed for their resume, upsetting No. 5 Florida State on Tuesday night in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Virginia improved to 14-6 (6-4 ACC) with the win, and moved into a tie with Syracuse for fourth in the ACC after the Orange fell at Clemson.

It was an exciting back-and-forth affair, but Virginia got just enough down the stretch to pick up the win. Virginia scored on seven of its final eight possessions, and scored the final eight points in the game.

Mamadi Diakite led the Hoos with 19 points and nine rebounds, and Kihei Clark added 15 points. Braxton Key contributed 13 points and nine rebounds.

Virginia went 20-for-23 at the line, including making 6-of-6 in the final 3:33 of the game. As a team, the Cavaliers shot 44% from the field and 42% from three. Diakite was a perfect 3-for-3 from three, and had one go with a toe on the line.

Defensively, Virginia held FSU to 39% shooting from the field and 35% from three. Devin Vassell led the Noles with 17 points.

Turnovers were an issue again as Virginia gave the ball away 17 times, leading to nine points for FSU.

Florida State jumped out to a 8-0 lead as the Seminoles opened the game a perfect 3-for-3, including two made threes. Key got Virginia on the board with a strong baseline drive with 16:40 left on the clock, and Virginia forced three turnovers in two minutes to keep the deficit from growing.

One free throw form Huff was cancelled out (and then some) by another three pointer from Raiquan Gray, gave the Seminoles an 11-3 advantage. Diakite’s first bucket cut the deficit to six, and Woldetensae halved that with his first three of the game. Virginia couldn’t get any closer, and FSU pushed the lead back to six as the clock passed through 10 minutes gone in the first half.

Once again, a big three from Woldetensae cut the lead to three, and Morsell tied the game at 14 with a gorgeous spin move through the lane and completing the three-point play. Florida State retook the lead with a tough jumper from M.J. Walker, but Diakite answered with two free throws to tie things up again.

A runner in the lane from Clark gave Virginia it’s first lead of the game at 18-6 with 5:07 remaining in the first half, and Florida State’s ensuing attempt to take the lead with a three caromed off the rim. Five straight points from FSU put the Noles up by three, but the big man to big man connection proved true as Huff dished out to Diakite for the tie.

The Seminoles jumped out to a two-point lead with a hook form Olejniczak before an emphatic dunk from Key knotted things at 23 with 2:48 to play. The two teams traded buckets to keep things tied up until Polite converted one free throw to give the Noles a slim lead. Three attempts from Huff and Clark barely missed, and FSU built it’s advantage back to three at the free throw line.

Clark drew contact in the lane with 12.9 seconds left and made both free throws to bring the Cavaliers within one at halftime, 28-27.

Diakite led Virginia with seven points, followed by Woldetensae and Key with six apiece. The Cavaliers shot 41% from the field and connected on 3-of-7 (43%) from beyond the arc. Much like the first meeting with the Seminoles, Virginia was turnover happy as they amassed 10 in the first 20 minutes.

Vassell led FSU with 10 points in the first half on 4-for-8 shooting. The Seminoles went 4-for-11 (36%) from three, and shot 42% from the field. The Noles weren’t immune from the turnover bug, handing it over six times in the first half, which led to eight points for the Cavaliers.

A three from Woldetensae went just wide to open the second half, and the Noles made the most of its first offensive rebound as Walker gave FSU a 30-27 lead. Diakite’s second three of the game tied things up for the seventh time, and his third three of the game gave the Hoos a three point lead.

Woldetensae built the advantage to five points at the free throw line, and Gray ended FSU’s 2:32 scoring drought with a bucket in the paint to make it 35-32 in favor of the home team. A nifty fake from Clark resulted in a jumper, but Walker responded with a three to keep the pressure on. After end to end action, Forrest tied things up at 37-all.

A miss from the Noles led to a transition bucket for Key, and a two point lead for the Hoos. Wilkes connected on a three after another offensive rebound, putting FSU ahead by one. The two squads traded buckets with FSU holding a three point advantage before Clark tied it up at 44 with an old-fashioned three-point play.

FSU benefitted from another broken play that resulted in a made three, but Key couldn’t convert the front end of a 1-and-1 after taking a hard foul. Clark took a hard foul from FSU’s Balsa Koprivica, which was initially called a Flagrant I. After review, it was upgraded to a Flagrant II, and Koprivica was ejected with 7:04 to play. A travel negated a made bucket from Diakite, but the defense stood tall and forced a miss from FSU with the Hoos trailing by one.

Clark tied the game at the line, then gave Virginia a slim 48-47 lead with 6:14 left on the clock. An ill-timed turnover led to a run-out and easy bucket for the Noles, but Key knotted things at 49-all at the free throw line. FSU re-took the lead with a bucket and foul, but Diakite closed the deficit to one with a put-back dunk.

Florida State stayed active on the boards with another offensive rebound for a score, giving the Noles a 54-51 lead with 3:57 left on the clock. Key drew contact going to the basket and made both to keep Virginia with arm’s reach. After a huge stop, Virginia’s offense stalled with a shot clock violation, giving the ball back to FSU with a lead.

Vassell padded the lead with a long two, putting the pressure on the reigning national champions. Huff somehow corralled an alley-oop from Clark, but couldn’t get the call for the and-one despite a fair amount of contact.

Virginia’s defense came up with a huge stop as Key pulled down a rebound, and Clark put the Cavaliers ahead, 57-56, as the clock ticked through a minute remaining. FSU was unable to answer, and Diakite gave the home crowd something to cheer for as he put the Cavaliers up by three with 13.9 seconds left.

Wilkes and Forrest badly missed on their attempts to tie the game, and Key salted away the 61-56 victory for Virginia with 0.1 seconds left.

Next up, Virginia hosts Clemson next Wednesday.