‘Noles chop overmatched Cavs, 73-62

Winning on the road in the Atlantic Coast Conference is not supposed to easy. Someone forgot to tell that to Florida State University, as the Seminoles posted an embarrassingly easy 73-62 win over the Virginia Cavaliers Saturday afternoon in John Paul Jones Arena.

And to add insult to injury the final margin of only 11 points was completely indicative of the lopsided win for FSU. Need proof? OK, you asked for it.

Virginia began the game missing 18 of 19 shots from the field, for most of the first half had more turnovers than points, and with six minutes remaining in the half had five points. Five, as in half of even reaching double digits. Leading 20-5, the Seminoles had three players totaling more points than all Cavalier players combined. But perhaps the most amazing of all of the first half debacle for UVa. was the fact they trailed only by 14 at break, 30-16.

Any hopes of a second-half resurgence by Virginia (like there were any) never materialized. FSU scored the half’s first four points to open an 18-point margin and never allowed any serious Cavalier comeback bid. The Seminoles, who improved to 16-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference, never trailed in the contest and enjoyed a double-digit lead the final 34 minutes.

Virginia, 7-9 overall, 1-4 in ACC, has now lost back-to-back home ACC tilts by double digits. “The way Florida State plays basketball, they systematically and methodically wear you down,” Virginia coach Dave Leitao said. “I think they wore us down physically and mentally, especially in the first half,” added Leitao.

Virginia somehow mustered some hope of making a game of it when Jamil Tucker stole the ball and dunked to cut the FSU lead to 44-31 at the 13:09 mark. But Seminole senior guard Toney Douglas, who scored a team-high 21 points, then nailed a three-pointer while being fouled. The four-point play extended the lead to 17 and extinguished the life out of what for the most part been a lifeless JPJ crowd.

After the horrendous 1-for-19 start from the floor, Virginia finished the game 17-for-48. Freshman Sylven Landesburg led the Cavaliers with 24 points, including a perfect 14-14 from the foul line. After the game, Landesburg, the ACC’s leading freshman scorer, said the wear and tear of the season may be having some effect on the team. “It’s a long season, and we have some guys banged up,” said Landesburg. “Fortunately we have a week off before our next game (at Duke), so hopefully we can get some rest get back to practice and play with some confidence.”

Confidence is that key ingredient that may be difficult for the young Virginia team to grasp hold of. Especially with Leitao frequently pulling a player from the game after a miscue of some type. Sophomore Mike Scott said he did not think a lack of confidence was that much of a factor. “I think we have to get better at learning what our roles are,’ commented Scott. “I have confidence in my teammates. It’s just a matter of learning, and that comes with experience,” added Scott.

With a trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium next Sunday to battle Duke, Virginia can only hope that the upcoming practice weeks provides some learning and experience.


– Story by Scott German

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