CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Joe Harris and Virginia didn’t let a disappointment at Duke knock them off their rhythm.
Harris scored 18 points, Malcolm Brogdon scored 16 and the Cavaliers used an early 22-5 run to take command on their way to a 78-66 victory against Florida State on Saturday, claiming a sweep of its season series against the Seminoles.
“I think we have a bunch of guys on our team that are starting to buy in and buy into their roles,” Brogdon said after a game in which he also had six assists, four steals and four rebounds in 33 minutes. “We believe in coach (Tony) Bennett and he believes in us. He allows his players a lot of freedom and allows us to play up to our abilities.”
The Cavaliers (13-5, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won 62-50 at Florida State on Jan. 4, led 45-26 at halftime after closing with an 11-3 run. The sweep is the first for the Cavaliers against the Seminoles since the 2000-01 season.
Since a 35-point loss at Tennessee on Dec. 30, the Cavaliers have won four of five, including the road victory at Florida State and another at North Carolina State, giving them their best start in ACC play since the 1994-95 season. Their only loss in that stretch came by 69-65 at Duke on Monday night, a game Virginia actually led just one time, but in the final minute.
Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton sounded glad to be done with the Cavaliers in the regular season.
“The closeness of the score does not really indicate how really well they played the game,” he said, adding that Virginia’s 49.1 shooting percentage was more a reflection of their effectiveness than a sign of shoddy defense. “We just could not seem to disrupt them. They were on point and they weren’t going to allow us to get them out of rhythm.”
Okaro White and Aaron Thomas scored 15 each for Florida State (12-5, 3-2). The Seminoles arrived second in the ACC defensively, allowing teams to make just 36.3 percent of their field goal attempts, but the Cavaliers shot better than 55 percent in the first half in bolting to 45-26 lead by halftime. The attempted six 3-pointers in the half, and made five.
The Seminoles trailed by as many as 21 in the second half, and got no closer than 12, including in the final minute when Virginia’s Justin Anderson was assessed a technical foul for hanging on the rim after a dunk. During some brief confusion on the court, words were exchanged, and the Cavaliers’ Darion Atkins and Teven Jones were ejected for leaving the bench.
After the game, as the teams lined up to shake hands, words were exchanged again and the teams came together again, but coaches seemed to control the situation and the teams went to their locker rooms without incident.
“I think when you beat a team twice, there’s going to be anger that results and there’s going to be frustration just like with anybody,” Brogdon said, dismissing the incident as meaningless. “I think that’s what happened.”
Bennett said it is his understanding that Jones and Atkins will not be penalized further.
Virginia used the same blueprint in the rematch as it had in Tallahassee, but this time had the benefit of having Harris in the lineup. In Florida, Harris sustained a concussion after just two minutes on the court and watched the rest of the game.
This time, he had 10 points by halftime and finished the game 6-for-8 with four 3-pointers in five attempts.
After an opening 3-pointer by Devon Bookert for the Seminoles, Virginia scored 22 of the next 27 points. Brogdon had eight and the Seminoles turned the ball over at least three times and went more than six minutes between their first field goal and second.
The Seminoles also turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 26 points for the Cavaliers.
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