Published January 08, 2015
Greensboro, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Joe Harris scored 20 points and Anthony Gill added 16, leading sixth-ranked Virginia to a 64-51 victory over Florida State in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals.
No other Cavalier scored more than six, but the strong team effort was enough to send Virginia into its first ACC Tournament semifinal since 1995. The Cavaliers (26-6) will next play Pittsburgh, an 80-75 winner over No. 15 North Carolina.
Virginia was coming off an overtime loss at Maryland in its regular-season finale last Sunday, a setback that ended a 13-game winning streak. The Cavaliers, however, had already secured the top seed in the ACC Tournament for the first time since 1981. Their lone tournament title came way back in 1976.
"We hadn't played for a while," said Virginia coach Tony Bennett. "This is a great opportunity for us. I thought our guys were ready. We wanted to set the tone."
Okaro White scored 17 points and Aaron Thomas chipped in 13 for the Seminoles (19-13), who beat Maryland in the second round on Thursday and now sit squarely on the bubble for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.
Virginia carried a 32-27 lead to the intermission and London Perrantes drilled a 3-pointer to start the second half. The Seminoles never really recovered.
Florida State trimmed the deficit to six a few times, the last at 39-33 on a jumper by Ian Miller. A basket by Devon Bookert a few minutes later kept the Seminoles within single digits, but the Cavaliers put it away with the next seven points.
Harris ignited the burst with three and Darion Atkins scored the next four, canning two from the stripe with 9:51 remaining for a 52-37 cushion.
The Seminoles trailed by double-digits the rest of the way.
"I was pleased with the first 15 or so minutes of the game," said Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton. "The second half, it was obvious that the quality of their depth took its toll on us. We didn't quite have nearly the energy to fight those screens for the long periods of time. And I thought that really made the difference."
Florida State opened the game with the first two buckets and built a 9-5 lead early, but Harris keyed a 9-2 burst with a three as Virginia moved in front by a 14-11 margin midway through the first half.
A triple by Perrantes snapped a 23-23 tie with just over three minutes left and Virginia never trailed again. The Cavaliers went into the break with a 32-27 advantage after Gill drained a jumper from the lane at the buzzer.
Virginia snapped a four-game ACC tourney losing streak ... Perrantes' only points came on his two triples ... Atkins also finished with six points, while Malcolm Brogdon overcame a 2-for-10 shooting effort with nine rebounds for the Cavaliers ... Miller finished with 10 points in defeat ... The Seminoles lost all three meetings with Virginia this season, falling by 12 points in each of the regular-season matchups ... This marked the first meeting between Virginia and Florida State in the ACC Tournament.