Florida State vs Virginia: Seminoles Repel Cavaliers, Remain Atop ACC

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Florida State vs Virginia: Seminoles Repel Cavaliers, Remain Atop ACC
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Michael Snaer's late-game heroics again carried Florida State to victory.

Florida State withstood a swift and furious Virginia rally to retain a portion of the ACC lead with a 58-55 victory before a near-capacity crowd at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

The Seminoles have won seven straight ACC games since dropping their conference opener to Clemson.  The loss drops Virginia to 5-3 in the conference, as the first division has suddenly broken into three one-loss teams (FSU, North Carolina and Duke) and three three-loss teams (UVA, NC State and Miami).

Florida State's bench outscored Virginia's 24-10 and got a major contribution from sophomore Okaro White, who scored a team-high 13 points and grabbed five rebounds.  The Noles' only other double-digit scorer was center Xavier Gibson, who had 10 points to go with his five rebounds.

Virginia was led by Mike Scott and Joe Harris, who each had 16 points.  Freshman Malcolm Brogdon added all 10 of UVA's points from their reserves.

Scott grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds but also committed seven turnovers, as Florida State continually swarmed him every time he touched the ball.

As a team, Virginia committed a season-high 20 turnovers, all in the first 32 minutes of play.

In fact, in those 32 minutes, the Cavaliers scored only 29 points.

With just under 7:30 to go, FSU led 44-31 when Virginia went on a 14-0 tear that took only 2:40 and was capped by a Jontel Evans steal and layup that gave the Cavaliers their second lead of the game and first since a Mike Scott slam gave UVA an 8-6 lead less than five minutes into the game.

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The Cavs' first lead lasted only 31 seconds, and this one lasted less than half of that, as the Seminoles came right back with a Michael Snaer three-pointer from the left corner, his first points of the game.

That sparked a six-point Noles run that reopened a five-point lead.

It was Snaer's three at the buzzer that snapped Duke's 45-game home winning streak two weeks ago. 

Today, he saved all eight of his points for the end, as he twice more scored after Virginia baskets by Harris (a three-pointer) and Brogdon cut the lead to a one-possession game in the final minutes.

An Akil Mitchell steal of a lob pass with 38 seconds to go and Florida State leading 55-52 gave the 'Hoos a chance to tie, but a Joe Harris three-pointer from the top of the key with 23 seconds left wouldn't go.

The 'Noles cemented the win with three free throws to offset a Brogdon three-pointer with two seconds to go.

An immediate foul put Snaer on the free-throw line, where he missed the front end of a one and one.  Two quick passes got the ball to Evans, whose heave from just inside half-court bounced off the rim, but probably would have been waved off after review.

For the game, Florida State out-rebounded Virginia 28-24 and had a 12-7 edge in second-chance points.  The Seminoles also scored 16 points off the 20 Virginia turnovers while the Cavaliers managed 12 points off of 19 FSU turnovers.

Florida State has now won nine of the last 10 meetings, and nine straight in Tallahassee.

The two teams will meet again in Charlottesville in the next-to-last game of the ACC regular season on March 1.

Both teams return to action on Wednesday with the Seminoles traveling to Chestnut Hill to play Boston College while the Cavaliers will entertain Wake Forest.  

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