Polite, Vassell pace Seminoles past Cavaliers, 54-50

By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
January 15, 2020

Florida State guard Devin Vassell watches a Virginia player with the ball during an NCAA college basketball game in Tallahassee, Fla., Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Despite making just two of their last 11 shots from the floor, Florida State outlasted the defending champion Virginia Cavaliers, 54-50, in front of a crowd of 10,725 at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Wednesday night.

The win is FSU's eighth straight, marking the second consecutive season they've put together winning streaks of eight games or longer. FSU is also 15-1 in their last 16 games.

Trailing 47-44 with 3:11 to play, Anthony Polite hit his fourth three pointer of the night to tie the game at 47-47. On the next possession, Trent Forest hit two free throws to give the Seminoles a 49-47 advantage.

With 14 seconds to play, Devin Vassell lined up a three to give the Seminoles some breathing room at 52-47, and after a UVA three brought them within a bucket, he hit two free throws to ice the game.

Vassell led all scorers with 18 points and went 7-of-15 from the floor, to go along with five rebounds and three assists.

Polite added 14 points to the score sheet, including a perfect 4-for-4 night from three.

FSU finished the game shooting 37% from the floor and 36.4% from deep.

Virginia finished the game outshooting FSU from the floor at 45.7%, but the Cavaliers didn't hit their first three until six minutes had passed in the second half (ending the night with a 20% three point evening) and struggled at the free throw line, hitting just five of eight attempted shots. Mamadi Diakite led the Cavs in scoring, with 16 points, while no other UVA player finished with more than nine.

It was a hot start for the Seminoles, who hit their first four shots and a free throw to jump out to an 11-2 lead.

After the hot start, though, the Noles went cold for a scoreless drought of 7:43, which allowed UVA to take their first lead of the game with 9:31 to play at 14-12.

The Noles got off the snide, thanks to an Anthony Polite basket, and the two sides matched blows for the remainder of the half until the final five minutes, when FSU held UVA scoreless for the final 4:52 of the opening 20 minutes.

In that span, the Seminoles mounted an 11-0 run, highlighted by a pair of electric Polite threes, and forced six turnovers. Polite and Vassell each finished the opening 20 minutes with 11 points each.

The Noles are back in action on Saturday against the Hurricanes in Miami. Tip off is set for 1 p.m.

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