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No. 5 FSU falls at UVA in back-and-forth affair

Devin Vassell’s 17 points not enough as Florida State lost for the first time since early December

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 FSU (17-3, 7-2) fell to UVA (14-6, 6-4) 61-56 in a back-and-forth affair on Tuesday evening in Charlottesville.

Game Recap

The ‘Noles got off to an early 8-2 lead at the first media timeout of the game behind back-to-back three pointers from Devin Vassell and RaiQuan Gray. Gray added another deep ball just five minutes into the game as he started the game 2-2 from deep. The ‘Noles forced six early UVA turnovers, but a four-plus minute FSU drought made it a 11-8 Seminole lead at the U-12 media timeout.

A quick 6-0 run tied the ball game up at 14 as the teams entered the U-8 media timeout. After a huge game against Notre Dame, Wyatt Wilkes had a struggle early on Tuesday night. Wilkes picked up three quick fouls by the six-minute mark in the first half. Wilkes saw extra action again on Tuesday due to the absence of Patrick Williams for the second straight game. UVA took their first lead of the game with 5:07 remaining in the half, but the ‘Noles took the lead back behind a 5-0 run from Vassell.

FSU went into the locker room with a 28-27 lead behind Vassell’s ten points and five boards. The ‘Noles forced 10 UVA turnovers, but scored just three points off those TO’s. Despite turning the ball over four fewer times, UVA scored 8 points off FSU turnovers. The Seminoles shot 42% from the floor while UVA shot 41%. FSU allowed just two offensive rebounds, but didn’t grab any of their own. The ‘Noles would have to start taking advantage of the Virginia turnovers to pull away from the Cavaliers in the second half.

UVA quickly took the lead back from FSU out of the locker room behind back-to-back Mamadi Diakite three-pointers. A quick 8-0 UVA run gave the Cavs a 35-30 lead just over three minutes into the half. A three-pointer from M.J. Walker got the Seminoles back on track after a slow start to the half. Trent Forrest scored his first points of the game with 13:04 remaining on a floater in the paint. The ‘Noles went into the U-12 media timeout down two.

FSU took the lead back out of the media timeout as Wilkes drained his first three of the game. After the 8-0 run by UVA, FSU went on a 10-2 run to extend their lead to three with 10 minutes left in the game. After a Kihei Clark and-1 tied the game up, FSU went into the U-8 media timeout behind a Vassell triple, his first points of the half.

Balsa Koprivica was disqualified from the game after a flagrant two foul call on a Clark drive after the media timeout. Clark’s flagrant free throws made it a one-point game with seven minutes remaining. The back-and-forth affair continued as a thunderous slam from Vassell gave FSU another one-point lead, before a Braxton Key free throw tied the game at 49 with with five minutes remaining. Malik Osborne followed up a miss of his own with a converted and-1 to put the ‘Noles up three. FSU went into the final media timeout of the game up 54-51.

Vassell drained a smooth mid-range jumper to extend the lead to three before a Jay Huff alley-oop cut the lead back to one with 1:39 remaining in the game. The lead changed for the seventh time in the game on a Clark layup with just under a minute to play. After a missed Vassell jumper on the next posession, the ‘Noles let 20 seconds dissipate, before fouling Diakite, who calmly drained a pair to give UVA a three-point lead. FSU would have one last chance to force OT, but they couldn’t execute. Wilkes missed a deep three before Forrest airballed the Seminoles’ last chance on an open corner three.

Post Game

FSU’s ten-game win streak came to an end on Tuesday night as they lost for the first time since December 3rd. The ‘Noles battled all night and even had a lead in the last minute of the game, but couldn’t capitalize late like they had the rest of the season. The ‘Noles had the looks on offense in the last minute, but couldn’t get the ball to drop. Vassell was FSU’s only scorer in double digits as he posted 17 on 7-15 shooting. The sophomore also led the team with six rebounds.

Florida State’s defense couldn’t contain the pick-and-roll with Clark late in the game and it got them. Diakite also had FSU’s number throughout the night as he posted a game-high 19 points. Clark added 15 while Key rounded out the double-digit scorers with 13.

FSU will look to get back on track on Saturday at Virginia Tech.

Game thread

Box Score