Virginia grinds out 61-56 win over #5 Florida State
Kihei Clark fought his ass off, and because he did, and because Mamadi Diakite played like Mamadi Diakite can, Virginia got a massive upset win over #5 Florida State.
A Clark driving layup with a minute to go put UVA ahead to stay, and the ‘Hoos closed things out on defense and at the foul line to complete a 61-56 win Tuesday night in JPJ.
Virginia (14-6, 6-4 ACC) trailed 56-53 after a Devin Vassell jumper with 2:13 to go, but that would be it for the ‘Noles (17-3, 7-2 ACC), who missed their last four shots, including a pair of potential game-tying threes in the final seconds.
A Clark-to-Jay Huff alley-oop got UVA to 56-55 with 1:50 to go.
The Clark dribble-drive put Virginia ahead, then the Virginia D forced a Vassell miss with 35 seconds left, with Huff pulling down the rebound in traffic.
FSU fouled Diakite with 13.9 seconds to go, and he converted two free throws to push the lead to three.
Wyatt Wilkes missed badly on a three from left of the key, but FSU was able to track down the loose ball and get one last look from three from Trent Forrest, who put up an airball from the left corner.
A pair of Braxton Key free throws with a tenth of a second left closed out the scoring.
Florida State had jumped out to an early 8-0 edge, and led for the bulk of the first half, but UVA did get it back to 28-27 FSU at the half.
Virginia led by five at two different points in the second half, and never trailed by more than three at any point.
Clark was the workhorse for the Cavaliers. His 15 points came on 4-of-12 shooting from the floor, but he fought his way into the lane consistently, and earned trips to the foul line – where he was 7-for-7 on the night.
Diakite had a game-high 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-3 from three, two of the three on dribble-drive kickouts from Tomas Woldetensae, who contributed eight points on 2-of-4 shooting from three.
Key contributed 13 points and nine rebounds for Virginia, which is off until next Wednesday, when the ‘Hoos host Clemson.
Story by Chris Graham