No. 9 Virginia, No. 17 Florida State meet in key ACC game

University of Virginia Sports
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No. 9 Virginia, No. 17 Florida State meet in key ACC game

No. 17 Florida State will put its school-record 23-game Atlantic Coast Conference home winning streak on the line Monday night when No. 9 Virginia visits Tallahassee, Fla.

The Seminoles (11-3, 7-2 ACC) extended that streak — and another one — on Saturday with a 92-85 overtime win against Wake Forest.

That was Florida State’s 11th straight win in overtime games, matching the all-time record shared by Louisville (1968-75), UMass (1991-96) and Virginia (1991-96). The Seminoles’ ACC home winning streak is the second-longest in league history behind Duke’s 26-game run from 1997-2000. FSU hasn’t lost at the Donald L. Tucker Center since Jan. 12, 2019, against the then-No. 1 Blue Devils.

Saturday’s win against the Demon Deacons was Florida State’s first game since Jan. 30 due to three postponements because of COVID-19. RaiQuan Gray led the way with career highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds. Scottie Barnes sent the game to OT with a reverse layup with 0.5 seconds remaining and finished with 13 points.

The Seminoles stayed right behind first-place Virginia (15-3, 11-1) in the ACC race. The Cavaliers have won four straight and 11 of their past 12.

Both teams are making the short Saturday-Monday turnaround, with Virginia coming off a 60-48 weekend win at North Carolina. The Cavaliers took control early with a 21-2 run and no Tar Heels players finished in double figures, the first time that had happened since 1966.

“Virginia is probably one of the best teams in America in terms of execution, offensively and defensively,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We have to be aware of what they’re doing. We won’t have the luxury of going out there and drilling it so we’re going to have to rely on it being mental.”

The Cavaliers-Seminoles series can’t get any closer, as they’ve split their 52 meetings right down the middle. UVA head coach Tony Bennett is 9-9 against Florida State, including a 61-56 win in Charlottesville, Va., in the teams’ most recent meeting on Jan. 28, 2020.

“It’s just a quick turnaround,” said Virginia forward Jay Huff, who had 18 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks at North Carolina. “Hop on the bus, hop on the plane. We’ll kind of figure it out as we go. We don’t have much time to prepare on the court, but a lot of it’s just going to be film and strategy discussions.”

Monday’s game is a classic clash of styles. Florida State leads the ACC with 80.4 points per game in conference play. The Seminoles also rank first in field-goal percentage (50.2) and 3-point shooting (41.8).

Virginia meanwhile ranks No. 1 in conference play in scoring defense, allowing 57.5 points per game. League foes are shooting just 30.0 percent from behind the arc against the Cavaliers.

“You have to execute against their style of defense,” Hamilton said. “They’re going to trap you when the ball goes into the post, they’re going to play the line, they’re going to come out of their positions very well, so you have to hit shots and execute. On the defensive end you have to be on your horse all the time.”

–Field Level Media

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