Florida State fights back, but can't get over hump in 80-76 loss to Virginia

On3 imageby:Corey Clark02/10/24

Corey_Clark

Chandler Jackson was terrific off the bench. And the Florida State men made a couple of runs in the second half. But when it was all said and done, the Seminoles just weren’t good enough to knock off the red-hot Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday night at the Tucker Center.

Jackson scored 17 points, including 15 in the second half, but the FSU defense couldn’t string together enough stops down the stretch and UVA pulled out an 80-76 victory. It was the eighth straight win for the Cavaliers, who are now 19-5 overall and 10-3 in the conference.

Florida State falls to 13-10 and 7-5.

The Cavaliers shot 58 percent from the floor in the second half, including 75 percent from 3 (6 of 8) on their way to scoring 46 points after intermission. Every time the Seminoles got themselves back in the game, and it happened multiple times in the second half, Virginia knocked down a dagger 3.

First, it was Jacob Groves, who hit a corner 3 with 8:08 left after Jackson had cut the lead to two with back-to-back buckets. Then, after the Seminoles turned a 12-point deficit into a four-point one with a quick run, Isaac McNeely hammered the nail in the coffin with a 3-pointer from the left wing.

It was his fifth 3-pointer of the night. He finished with a career-high 29 points, including three game-clinching free throws in the final 10 seconds. Reece Beekman added 21 points and five assists for the Cavaliers, who shot 10 of 18 from 3-point range overall.

Meanwhile, Florida State was just 2 of 16 from beyond the arc. Counting a foul on a 3-point attempt in the first half, in which McNeely knocked down all three free throws, the Seminoles were outscored by 27 points from the 3-point line.

Florida State’s best shooter, Darin Green Jr., was 0 for 6 from 3 and had just five points overall.

Despite the loss, there were some bright spots for the Seminoles. Not only did Jackson score 17 off the bench, but Jamir Watkins finished with 21 points before fouling out. Florida State scored 46 points in the second half and shot over 50 percent from the floor for the game – a rarity against Virginia’s defense.

In the end though, UVA had that 27-point advantage from beyond the arc and left Tallahassee with the win.

Florida State plays again at Virginia Tech on Tuesday night.

***Talk about this story with passionate FSU Basketball fans on the Seminole Hoops***

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