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Cavaliers' fortunes go south
Akil Mitchell had 15 points and Joe Harris had 13, but it wasn't enough to stop Florida State.
PHIL SEARS | USA TODAY Sports
Virginia guard Jontel Evans (left) goes for a layup against Florida State center Boris Bojanovsky on Thursday in Tallahassee, Fla. Virginia guard Jontel Evans (left) goes for a layup against Florida State center Boris Bojanovsky on Thursday in Tallahassee, Fla.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - On Sunday afternoon, Virginia gave one away. On Thursday night, the Cavaliers nearly stole one.
Either way, it was a pair of losses that UVa could not afford as it attempts to make the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
Florida State senior Michael Snaer, who has demonstrated a flair for game-winning 3-pointers, converted a three-point play with 4.4 seconds left as the Seminoles held off the Cavaliers 53-51 at Donald L. Tucker Center.
UVa, a 56-36 winner over Florida State in in Charlottesville, Va., has not won in Tallahassee since 2001 and has lost 17 consecutive games in the state of Florida.
Virginia (20-10, 10-7) was coming off a 53-52 loss Sunday at Boston College, where the Cavaliers led by 11 points with less than 4 ½ minutes.
This time, it was UVa that trailed by 11 points, 47-36, with less than six minutes remaining.
A 15-3 run enabled the Cavaliers to take a 51-50 lead on a pair of free throws by Joe Harris with 1:28 remaining.
Virginia came up with a defensive stop at the other end, regaining possession following a Snaer miss with 59 seconds left.
UVa coach Tony Bennett said he contemplated a timeout but was able to alert his players that he wanted to get the ball to Harris. However, the Seminoles were all over Harris and the ball was in the hands of point guard Jontel Evans as the 35-second clock ran down.
Evans got the ball to forward Akil Mitchell, who missed a reverse layup that was rebounded by Florida State (16-14, 8-9) with 21 seconds left.
"I took off too soon; I wasn't on balance," said Mitchell, who finished with a team-high 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, marking his 10th double-double of the season.
Harris finished with 13 points but was only 5-of-15 from the floor, including 1-for-6 on 3-pointers. He got the ball following Snaer's final free throw but fumbled the ball on the way up the floor.
"I probably should have kicked it ahead," said Harris, who was being dogged by three FSU defenders on the way up the floor. "It all happened so quickly. It's hard to say exactly what happened."
It was reminiscent of the Cavaliers' last possession Sunday at Boston College, where Virginia was unable to get off a shot after the Eagles had taken the lead, 53-52, with 8.4 seconds left.
In each of UVa's last three road games, the home team has scored the go-ahead basket in the final 10 seconds, including a Feb. 19 game in Coral Gables, Fla., where the Hurricanes' Reggie John broke a 50-50 tie with 5.7 seconds left. Miami went on to win 54-50.
UVa, which has won 16 consecutive home games, dropped to 3-7 on the road with Thursday night's losses. Five of those losses have come by six points or fewer.
"It was a valiant effort to come back," Bennett said. "It wasn't that there wasn't effort early, but [the Seminoles] were getting too many easy looks. We were wobbling a little bit there."
Harris was on Snaer for the Seminoles' last possession, as he was for most of the night.
"I knew I was getting the ball at the end of the game and I knew, somehow [or] someway, that I would make a play," said Snaer, a senior with five game-winning shots before Thursday night.
This might have been the first left-handed game-winner for Snaer, a natural righty.
"In my mind, I knew I could get past the first guy," Snaer said. "I figured there would be some help coming, but the help never came. I was able to keep Harris to my [right] side."
Junior Okaro White had a game-high 17 points for the Seminoles, who shot 47.7 percent from the floor, compared to the Cavaliers' 38.6. Virginia outrebounded FSU 33-25, getting a 12-point, seven-rebound performance by freshman Mike Tobey in his longest outing since a bout with mononucleosis.
The Cavaliers now become Florida State fans as the Seminoles play host to North Carolina State, which took over sole possession of fourth place in the ACC with UVa's loss.
If Virginia can get past Maryland on Sunday, that coupled with an N.C. State loss would give UVa a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament, given UVa's win over the Wolfpack in their only meeting.
Mitchell 6-10 3-3 15, Evans 1-8 0-0 2, Jesperson 2-7 0-0 5, Harris 5-15 2-2 13, Anderson 2-3 0-0 4, Barnette 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 0-2 0-0 0, Tobey 6-9 0-0 12, Nolte 0-2 0-0 0, Atkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-57 5-5 51.
FLORIDA ST. (16-14)
White 6-9 4-4 17, Ojo 0-0 0-0 0, Bookert 3-5 1-1 9, Snaer 6-14 1-1 14, Thomas 0-1 0-0 0, Brandon 0-3 0-0 0, Turpin 5-8 1-2 11, Gilchrist 0-0 0-0 0, Bojanovsky 1-2 0-0 2, Miller 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-44 7-8 53.
Halftime-Florida St. 26-23. 3-Point Goals-Virginia 2-14 (Jesperson 1-5, Harris 1-6, Nolte 0-1, Anderson 0-1, Barnette 0-1), Florida St. 4-9 (Bookert 2-2, Snaer 1-2, White 1-2, Thomas 0-1, Miller 0-2). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Virginia 33 (Mitchell 12), Florida St. 25 (White 6). Assists-Virginia 7 (Mitchell 3), Florida St. 10 (Bookert 3). Total Fouls-Virginia 13, Florida St. 10. A-6,430.
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