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Virginia drops disastrous road game at No. 16 FSU, 81-60

Virginia can’t keep up with FSU’s hot shooting.

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NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 7 Virginia Cavaliers ran into a buzzsaw on Monday night as the No. 16 Florida State Seminoles sprinted away with a 81-60 win. It was FSU’s 24th straight home ACC win — the longest current streak in the league — and it dropped the Cavaliers to 15-4 on the season (11-2 ACC).

Virginia got just 15 points out of Jay Huff and Sam Hauser as Virginia’s two leading scorers went 5-for-13 from the field and 2-for-8 from three, combined. Trey Murphy led the Cavaliers with 13 points, and Kihei Clark and Tomas Woldetensae each contributed 12.

The Hoos didn’t shoot it terribly overall — 47% from the field and 39% from three — but Florida State went a blistering 13-for-24 (54%) from three, well above their average of 39% for the season.

Virginia once again coughed the ball up far too many times, turning it over 13 times that led to 21 points for the Noles. This is the second time this season the Hoos have giving up 80+ points in a game. Gonzaga scored 98 back in December.

This was another missed opportunity for a Virginia team that still doesn’t have a marquee win this season. While this one loss (or the four losses combined) isn’t predictive of tournament failure, it continues to give examples of inconsistencies on both ends of the court.

Murphy opened the scoring with a corner three after Clark and Huff worked the ball around the outside of the arc. Malik Osborne rebounded an FSU miss for an emphatic slam, but Hauser pushed Virginia’s lead to four with another three for the Hoos. Five straight points from Gray gave the Noles their first lead of the game, and they added to it with a transition dunk off of a turnover to make it 9-6 with 15:21 to play.

Florida State’s scoring run climbed to 14-0 as they built a 16-6 lead. A Woldetensae three ended Virginia’s scoring drought, but Polite got a layup to keep the deficit at nine for the Hoos. Then things went off the rails completely. FSU couldn’t miss while the Cavaliers couldn’t buy a bucket as the home team built a 30-11 lead with 7:44 left in the first half.

The Noles went into the half leading 45-25 after going 6-for-10 from three and dominating all facets of the game. Gray and Walker each had nine points for the Noles, and Woldetensae led Virginia with eight points. Virginia didn’t shoot poorly, going 44% from the field and 46% from three, but they turned it over eight times and were called for seven fouls (to FSU’s two).

Clark opened the second half with back-to-back buckets to cut the deficit to 16, but Walker got the Noles on the board with a three. Hauser responded with a three of his own, cutting FSU’s lead to 48-32 with 17:18 left. Clark cut it to 14 with a layup, but couldn’t get the free throw. An athletic defensive play by Hauser got Virginia possession, but Murphy couldn’t get the three to fall. Another miss by Florida State gave the Hoos a chance to cut the lead further, and Clark delivered with a shot that didn’t fall, but was counted good because of goaltending.

Strong defense led to a steal by Clark, and the diminutive point guard made it a 10-point game with 14:57 to play with two free throws. A three from Murphy made it a seven-point deficit, but FSU responded with one of their own. Clark again pulled up from the free throw line for a pure jumper. Barnes drew contact from Beekman on a shot in the lane, but missed the free throw to keep the gap at 10.

Five quick points from the Noles re-established a 15-point lead with just under 12 minutes remaining. Their run continued to 14-0, giving FSU a 65-43 lead. The deficit hovered around 19-22 points the remainder of the game before Murphy made it a 16-point game with 2:41 remaining. FSU once again responded with a three — their 12th of the game — and Gray pushed the lead back to 21 with two made free throws.

Next up, Virginia stays on the road and will make a trip to Cameron Indoor to face Duke on Saturday. The game is scheduled for 8pm and will be broadcast on ESPN.