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Feb 9, 2024 7:35 pm

Red-hot Virginia rolls into matchup with inconsistent Florida State

reece beekman

Virginia is the hottest team in the Atlantic Coast Conference and will seek its eighth consecutive victory when it faces Florida State on Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Cavaliers lost four of six games during a bumpy 3 1/2-week stretch before embarking on the string of wins. Virginia (18-5, 9-3 ACC) resides in second place in the conference.

“I think right now we’re obviously playing our best basketball of the year,” Virginia forward Jacob Groves said, “which is awesome, considering it’s February.”

The Cavaliers were mighty stingy during Monday’s 60-38 home win over Miami, a Final Four team last season.

Virginia held the Hurricanes to 28.6 percent shooting from the floor and 2-of-20 shooting from 3-point range. The Cavaliers improved to 29-0 when holding teams to fewer than 40 points during Tony Bennett’s 15 seasons as coach.

Virginia also took exemplary care of the basketball, matching a season best by committing just three turnovers.

“We got the ball to the right spots, had a variety of shots,” Bennett said. “Didn’t shoot a ton of 3s, but I felt we got into the lane and made the plays and had some good drives, good pocket passes, and the guys were sharing the ball, and to me that was good. Good Virginia basketball on both ends.”

Reece Beekman scored 16 points to raise his season average to 13.4. He also leads the squad in assists (6.1) and steals (2.4) per game.

Florida State (13-9, 7-4) edged host Boston College 63-62 on Tuesday night after losing three of its previous four games.

The Seminoles never trailed in the contest but needed Cam Corhen to knock the ball away from Boston College’s Jaeden Zackery just before the buzzer to prevent the Eagles from attempting a final shot.

Overall, Florida State had 13 steals and a 19-5 edge in points off turnovers. Jamir Watkins had three steals and three blocked shots to go with his team-best 10 points. Darin Green Jr. and Taylor Bol Bowen also had three steals apiece.

The Seminoles have been battling consistency issues. One game earlier, Florida State allowed a season-worst for points in a 101-92 road loss at Louisville.

“We’ve had moments where we’ve responded very, very well,” Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said. “And then we’ve had moments where we seem to be not responding appropriately.

“Hopefully that’s behind us. It seems like any time our backs are against the wall, we seem to find a way to dig out.”

This is the lone regular-season meeting this season. Virginia won both of last season’s meetings — 62-57 at home and 67-58 in Tallahassee.

–Field Level Media

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