Jan 20, 2002
By HANK KURZ JR.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Florida State coach Steve Robinson knew the question was coming, and he had his answer ready when it came:
“I can’t respond to that,” Robinson said when asked about No. 10 Virginia’s 44-11 advantage in free throws Sunday. “It’s going to be hard to win a basketball game when the other team’s getting that many.”
The Cavaliers outscored Florida State 37-8 from the foul line, including 24-5 in the second half, and beat the Seminoles 91-74.
Virginia coach Pete Gillen seemed shocked by the disparity, but said the Seminoles’ defense in the passing lanes helped make it happen.
“It was a physical game, that’s all I know,” Gillen said. “We were attacking the basket. We did get a lot of free throws, but trust me, every one was a foul. We fouled them too, but they wouldn’t let us pass.
“They played in the lanes and they were very physical.”
The Cavaliers also took advantage, shooting 84 percent from the line.
Chris Williams scored 24 points, including the first three in a 19-6 run to begin the second half, and Roger Mason Jr. and freshman Elton Brown added 16 each as the Cavaliers rebounded from a plodding 13 minutes.
Travis Watson added 14 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks, Jermaine Harper had nine points and Keith Jenifer had five points and six assists, giving the Cavaliers possibly their most complete performance this season.
“We needed that today,” said Mason, who hit three 3-pointers in the last 77 seconds of the first half to cap the big run. “When you have a team where a lot of guys can score, it makes it tough to stop us.”
The Cavaliers (12-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), scored just 13 points in the first 13:22 and trailed 20-13, then outscored Florida State 32-19 in the last 6:38 of the first half to lead 45-39 at halftime.
The fast start after the break included scoring from five players, and the Seminoles never got closer than 10 points again.
“The freshmen, they really picked it up today,” said Williams, who at one point played four freshmen at a time. “Defensively they really pressured the ball and got our defense started. They’re really coming on.”
The Seminoles (9-7, 2-3) never recovered from the barrage.
The second half was more of the same, with Mason adding a 3-pointer and five points, J.C. Mathis hitting a 3 and Travis Watson and Jermaine Harper scoring four points each as the Cavaliers built a 64-45 lead.
From there, the Cavaliers protected their lead at the line.
Florida State led 20-13 with 7:33 left in the first half before Virginia started scoring, first at the line, then from the field.
Watson’s putback with 5:29 left was only the Cavaliers’ fifth field goal, and second in more than seven minutes. But it drew them to 25-19 and started Virginia on a quick 11-2 spurt that produced a 28-27 lead.
After two baskets by the Seminoles, Brown hit the second of his three first-half 3-pointers, and Mason hit three more in the last 1:17.