Florida State upends Virginia, 69-59, in ACC semifinals

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By: Associated Press
March 15, 2019

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 6 1/2 minutes without a field goal.

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.

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.

FSU now looks for its first ACC Tournament title since 2012.



 
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