CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Despite a late comeback attempt by Florida State (1-9, 0-1 ACC), No. 3 Virginia (7-0, 1-0 ACC) held on to defeat the Seminoles, 62-57, in its 2022-23 ACC opener at John Paul Jones Arena Saturday afternoon (Dec. 3). The Cavaliers led by 10 points with under 2:00 to play and FSU shrank the UVA lead to as little as three points with seven seconds to play, but Virginia made its last seven free throw attempts to close out the game.
Kihei Clark scored a game-high 18 points on 4-of-9 shooting and went 9-for-10 at the charity stripe. Jayden Gardner (10 points, 5-9 FG) also scored in double figures for the Cavaliers and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end of the floor.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Florida State led 22-21 at the end of the first half, which was a defensive struggle from nearly wire to wire. The Seminoles shot 25 percent from the field, while Virginia shot 23 percent in the first 20 minutes of play. The score was tied 9-9 at the under-12:00 media timeout, at which point both teams were 3-for-11 each from the field. The Cavaliers led for 10:45 of game time in the opening half, but an 8-0 FSU run late in the half flipped the score to give the Seminoles a 22-18 lead with 1:29 remaining. A made 3 by Isaac McKneely (4 points, 5 rebounds) on the following possession halted the Seminoles’ run and proved to be the final score of the half by either team. Armaan Franklin (9 points, 3-7 FG) led UVA in scoring at the half with six points on 2-of-6 shooting. Kadin Shedrick pulled down five of his six total rebounds and swatted two of his four blocked shots in the first half.
Clark made a jumper in the paint on the first possession of the second half to give Virginia a 23-22 advantage, a lead in which the Cavaliers did not surrender for the remainder of the contest. Including the Clark make, UVA scored nine of the first 11 points to open the second half. The Cavaliers went on to grasp their largest lead of the contest, 43-31, at the 11:16 mark, but back-to-back FSU made 3s quickly cut the UVA lead in half. Down the stretch, Ryan Dunn (4 points, 5 rebounds) sunk a pair of free throws to give the Hoos a 55-45 lead with 1:52 remaining, but after a missed UVA dunk and a pair of turnovers in the final 70 seconds, the Seminoles found themselves trailing by just three, 60-57, with seven seconds remaining. Reece Beekman (7 points, 5 assists) was fouled with six seconds on the game clock, and he buried both of his attempts at the line to give UVA a five-point cushion (62-57) before the Seminoles missed a 3-pointer with three seconds left.
THE GAME BALL GOES TO:
Kihei Clark. Coming off a 16-point performance in UVA’s comeback win at Michigan, Clark led the Cavaliers in scoring for the first time this season with a game-high 18 points. Thirteen of Clark’s 18 total points came in the second half. His 18 points also tied for fourth most by a Cavalier in a single game this season. Clark, who finished 9-for-10 at the free throw line, was 7-for-8 in the second half to help UVA pull amid FSU’s late comeback attempt.
The Cavaliers host James Madison (7-2) on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Tipoff at John Paul Jones Arena is set for 8 p.m. on ACC Network. BUY TICKETS