The 2019 ACC men's basketball tournament heated up Friday night, with four teams battling for two spots in the championship game.
The night started strong as fourth-seeded Florida State upset co-ACC regular-season champion Virginia. That set the stage for an instant classic between North Carolina and Duke in the nightcap.
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
The ACC semifinals are underway on ESPN. All four teams (Virginia, UNC, Duke, Florida State) are currently ranked among the Top 12 in the most recent AP Poll. For context, there hasn't been a Final Four with four Top-12 teams since 2009 (UNC, UConn, Michigan State, Villanova).
Below is a look at the latest action from Charlotte, North Carolina.
2019 ACC Tournament Semifinals (March 15)
No. 4 Florida State 69, No. 1 Virginia 59
No. 3 Duke 74, No. 2 North Carolina 73
2019 ACC Tournament Final (March 16)
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 3 Duke, 8:30 p.m. ET
Full tournament information available on the ACC's official website
Florida State Seminoles 69, Virginia Cavaliers 59
Virginia defeated Florida State by double digits in the teams' only regular-season meeting, but it was the Seminoles who will be playing for the ACC tournament title.
The Seminoles led from nearly start to finish, and as they pulled away, they built a double-digit lead in the first half. However, the top-seeded Cavaliers refused to go down without a fight.
A 7-0 run in the closing minutes of the first half made it a one-possession game, although FSU took a four-point lead into the locker rooms.
The Cavaliers appeared to be building some momentum by opening the second half on a 14-9 run to take its first lead since they led 8-7 in the first five minutes of the game. However, the Seminoles responded with an 18-4 run to regain control.
Per usual, Florida State produced a balanced attack. Senior guard David Nichols led the way with 14 points, though six different Seminoles scored at least nine points in the game.
Marilyn Payne @marilyn_payne
No. 12 FSU gives No. 2 UVA its third loss of the season, 69-59, ending the one seed’s #ACCTourney run. David Nichols leads Noles (27-6) with 14 pts. Mfiondu Kabengele runs off the court telling fans “I’ll see y’all TOMORROW,” throws in a “Good luck, y’all,” to #UNC as he passes. https://t.co/bCJ6pWcvCc
Florida State shot 55.6 percent from the field.
Virginia, on the other hand, had a tough time getting into a rhythm on offense. De'Andre Hunter led the Cavaliers with 13 points, with Kyle Guy (11) and Ty Jerome (10) also reaching double figures.
While UVA shot a respectable 44 percent from the field, it shot just 5-of-24 (23.8 percent) from three-point range.
Winning the ACC tournament figured to all but lock up the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Dance for Virginia for the second consecutive year. While the Cavs (29-3) still should be a top seed, they will enter the NCAA tournament off a loss.
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Florida State completes the upset over Virginia in the first ACC semifinal. Virginia has just four losses over the past 365 days: 2 have been to Duke, while the other 2 have come in Charlotte's Spectrum Center (FSU tonight, UMBC one year ago tomorrow). https://t.co/GIAKDCoAzz
Florida State (27-6), meanwhile, has the opportunity to continue to improve its seeding as it awaits the Duke-North Carolina winner in the ACC final Saturday.
Duke 74, North Carolina 73
Only one team was able to walk away with the victory, but Round 3 of the Tobacco Road Rivalry lived up to the hype and then some.
Early on, it appeared as though the Tar Heels were going to run away with their third consecutive victory over the Blue Devils. First-team All-ACC selection Cameron Johnson started the game on fire, recording his team's first eight points. With just more than eight minutes off the clock, the UNC senior was outscoring Duke 14-13 by himself.
Although Johnson eventually cooled off, North Carolina threatened to run away with the game at one point, opening up a 13-point lead late in the first half.
But Zion Williamson and the Blue Devils battled back.
Duke closed the first half on a 24-11 run in a six-minute stretch that saw Williamson (12 points) outscore North Carolina on his own. That outburst was aided by a pair of treys from the 6'7", 285-pound forward.
Just like that, the two teams entered halftime tied at 44-apiece.
Duke carried that momentum into the second half, coming out of the locker room on a 8-2 run to retake the lead. This time, it was Carolina's turn to answer—and that set up an exhilarating back-and-forth fight to the finish.
Ultimately, it was the Blue Devils who came out on top, thanks to a last-minute bucket by Williamson proved to be the difference.
The Tar Heels had a pair of chances in the closing seconds to snatch the victory, but they could not complete the season sweep of their archrivals.
Williamson notched a game-high 31 points and 11 rebounds, while R.J. Barrett added 15 points. Johnson finished the game with 23 points, and Luke Maye added 14 points and 13 rebounds.
North Carolina (27-5) must wait until Selection Sunday to see if the committee makes it a No. 1 seed. Meanwhile, Duke (27-5) will take on Florida State in the ACC title game on Saturday night.