CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – David Nichols scored 14 points and No. 12 Florida State knocked off No. 2 Virginia 69-59 on Friday night to advance to the championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
Phil Cofer had 11 points and 7-foot-3 center Christ Koumadje added nine points and nine rebounds for the Seminoles, who will play the winner of No. 3 North Carolina/No. 5 Duke on Saturday night.
The Cavaliers loss comes on the same floor where they became the first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament to lose to a 16 seed in Maryland-Baltimore County last year. It’s also the same floor where Virginia lost a second-round game as a No. 2 seed to seventh-seeded Michigan State in 2015.
De’Andre Hunter had 13 points for Virginia (29-3), which had its nine-game winning streak snapped and suffered its first loss to a team other than Duke.
Florida State (27-6) was in control from the start. The Seminoles built a 35-31 at halftime behind the inside play of Koumadje, who had seven points and nine rebounds in the first half after registering just two points and two rebounds in a 65-52 loss to Virginia earlier this season.
The 35 points were essentially an offensive explosion for the Seminoles, who didn’t score their 35th point against Virginia until 2:34 remained in the previous matchup.
Florida State broke open the game midway through the second half with a 13-1 run led by Nichols, a graduate transfer who scored on a drive, a low post move, and a turnaround jumper during the stretch. While Nichols was heating up, the Cavaliers couldn’t score, going nearly 6½ minutes without a field goal.
Florida State: The Seminoles are one of the hottest teams in the country, having won 14 of 15 games with the only loss during that stretch coming at North Carolina.
Virginia: The Cavaliers have only lost three games all season – two of those to Duke – so it stands to reason they still have a chance at earning a No. 1 seed.
Florida State: Will look for its first ACC Tournament title since 2012.
Virginia: Will wait to hear on where they are seeded in the NCAA Tournament.