Devin Vassell scored 18 points, and No. 9 Florida State extended its winning streak to eight games with a 54-50 victory against Virginia on Wednesday night in Tallahassee, Fla.
The Seminoles (15-2, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) improved to 9-0 at home this season and extended their home winning streak to 16 games. Anthony Polite added 14 points and was 4-for-4 from 3-point range.
Unranked for the first time since November 2017, the Cavaliers (11-5, 3-3) have lost three straight games for the first time since February 2017. Mamadi Diakite led Virginia with 16 points. Kihei Clark finished with eight points and five assists but committed nine of Virginia’s 18 turnovers.
The defending national champs opened the second half with a 13-4 run, grabbing a 37-35 lead on Clark’s jumper.
Florida State surged ahead 44-39, but the lead seesawed back to Virginia at 46-44 on Clark’s layup.
After Diakite’s free throw with 3:11 left put Virginia up 47-44, Polite ended Florida State’s streak of nine straight missed shots with a game-tying 3-pointer.
Two free throws by Trent Forrest with 1:30 remaining put the Seminoles on top for good at 49-47.
The Cavaliers turned it over on their next two possessions, including a 10-second backcourt violation, and Vassell’s 3-pointer from the corner pushed the lead to 52-47 with 16 seconds left.
Virginia’s Tomas Woldetensae answered with his third 3-pointer of the game to make it 52-50, but Vassell sank two free throws with 4.1 seconds left to ice the win.
Florida State ended the first half with an 11-0 run to take a 31-24 lead. Polite nailed three 3-pointers in that surge, the last one with four seconds remaining.
Virginia had 11 turnovers before the break, including six straight possessions during a nearly five-minute drought to end the half. The Cavaliers missed all eight of their 3-point shots in the first half, scoring 20 of their 24 points in the paint.
The Seminoles started fast by sinking their first four shots and led 12-4 after Raiquan Gray’s free throw with 16:46 left, but they missed their next nine field-goal attempts and didn’t score again until Polite’s layup at the 9:06 mark.
The Cavaliers scored 10 unanswered points during that dry spell and took a 14-12 lead on back-to-back jumpers by Diakite.
—Field Level Media