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Virginia advances to ACC Tournament semifinals for first time since 1995 with win over Florida State
Greensboro, N.C. (AP) - Joe Harris matched a season high with 20 points, and No. 6 Virginia pulled away to beat Florida State 64-51 on Friday in an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinal.
Anthony Gill added 16 points for the top-seeded Cavaliers (26-6).
They shot 48 percent, forced 15 turnovers and earned their third double-digit victory over the Seminoles this season while reaching the semifinals for the first time since 1995.
Okaro White scored 17 points and Aaron Thomas added 13 for the ninth-seeded Seminoles (19-13).
They shot 43 percent against one of the nation’s best defenses but couldn’t keep the Cavaliers off the boards when it counted most, and were denied their third victory over a top-seeded team since 2009.
Virginia held a 31-25 rebounding advantage -- 21-13 in the second half and finished with 17 second-chance points.
White pulled Florida State to 61-49 with his jumper through contact with 3:25 left. But he missed the free throw and the Seminoles didn’t hit another field goal the rest of the way.
Virginia advanced to face either No. 15 North Carolina, the tournament’s fourth seed, or fifth-seeded Pittsburgh in the first semifinal Saturday.
That’s unfamiliar territory for a Cavaliers program that hadn’t reached the semifinals in nearly two decades -- the longest drought in the conference.
In matching a league record with 16 conference victories, Virginia earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament for just the second time and first since 1981.
The Cavaliers’ only tournament title came in 1976 and until Friday they had won only four ACC tournament games since that last semifinal appearance.
They led for all but about eight minutes of this one and were in control throughout _ even if it took a while for the scoreboard to finally reflect that.
Virginia pushed its lead into double figures for the first time on Gill’s free throw with 13:57 left that made it 43-33.
Harris bounced in a 3-pointer four possessions later to make it 48-37, Darion Atkins followed that with a jumper and then hit two free throws to make it a 15-point game with 9:51 remaining.
Ian Miller finished with 10 points for the Seminoles.