CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (seminoles.com) — The Florida State men’s basketball team spent the first few weeks of the season staking its claim as one of the nation’s best.
The Seminoles spent Saturday afternoon getting an up-close look at a team that might be the nation’s very best.
In just the 11th top-10 matchup in FSU basketball history, the No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers were as good as advertised in a 65-52 victory over No. 9 Florida State at John Paul Jones Arena.
The Cavaliers’ top-ranked scoring defense (51.4 points per game) held the Seminoles to season lows in scoring and field goal percentage (34.1 percent) and led by as many as 29 points before FSU closed the game on a 16-0 run.
Fifth-year senior Phil Cofer led FSU with nine points, while redshirt sophomore Mfiondu Kabengele added five points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Virginia’s Kyle Guy, a first-team All-ACC selection a year ago, led all scorers with 21 points, 15 of which from 3-point range.
Earlier this week, the Seminoles (12-2, 0-1 ACC) said that they expected the game to be a test of wills and a contrast of styles – FSU’s aggressive, quick-strike offense against Virginia’s snail-paced approach.
After a closely-contested first few minutes – the Seminoles led, 9-8, at the 14:10 mark of the first half, and trailed by just three midway through the period – Virginia (13-0, 1-0) flexed its defensive might and pulled away as the game moved toward halftime.
With FSU struggling to find open looks, the Cavaliers ended the half on a 15-2 run and went into the break leading 42-23.
Facing an 18-15 deficit at the 7:30 mark, the Seminoles made just two of their next seven shot attempts.Turnovers and foul trouble didn’t help FSU’s cause, either.
The Seminoles finished with as many turnovers – 15 – as made baskets, which the Cavaliers turned into 21 points.
And senior Terance Mann, FSU’s leading scorer and rebounder, picked up two early fouls, played a season-low 18 minutes (just three in the first half) and was held off the scoreboard for the first time this season.
Florida State will return home and look to regroup against Miami on Wednesday (9 p.m., RSN) before facing perhaps an even bigger challenge in the form of No. 1 Duke on Saturday.