UVa's Defense and Offense Combine for Blowout Win
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Joe Harris scored 17 points and Virginia used a 22-4 run late in the first half and stifling defense throughout to beat Florida State for the first time in eight tries, 56-36 on Saturday.
Akil Mitchell added 13 points for the Cavaliers (12-5, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who led 33-15 at halftime -- the fifth time this season they have held an opponent under 20 first-half points. It was the first time they have done it in an ACC game since they led Clemson 28-14 on Feb. 10, 1996.
Michael Snaer scored nine points to lead the Seminoles (10-7, 2-2), who shot 37 percent, missed 14 of 15 3-point attempts and committed 18 turnovers that Virginia turned into 20 points.
The games was delayed for several minutes with 3:58 remaining when Terrance Shannon dropped to the floor after appearing to slam his head into Evan Nolte's hip in a scramble under the basket.
From UVa athletics:
Virginia snapped Florida State's seven-game win streak in the series (UVa's last win had been a 73-70 win on Feb. 17, 2007 at JPJA)
Florida State's 36 points are the third fewest points allowed by Virginia in the shot clock era (since 1986) and the fewest by an ACC opponent during that span
Virginia held its opponent under 40 points for the fourth time this season (eighth time in the Bennett era and the 11th time in the shot clock era)
Virginia held an opponent under 50 points for the seventh time this season and the 25th time in the Bennett era
The Cavaliers extended their home win streak to 10 games and are 11-1 at JPJA this season
Virginia held Florida State scoreless for an 8:43 stretch of the first half (10:27 to 1:44) during a 12-0 run
Florida State's 15 first half points marked the seventh time this season the Cavaliers have held an opponent under 20 points in a half
FSU's 15 first-half points are the fewest allowed by UVa to an ACC opponent at halftime since Feb. 10, 1996 (Virginia 28, Clemson 14 at half)
The Cavaliers tied a season high with nine steals
Florida State's 36 points are its fewest scored in the series (previous low was 55: UVa 56, FSU 55 on Feb. 9, 2005)
The 20-point victory tied for Virginia's largest margin of victory in the series (84-64 on Jan. 6, 1994)
Joe Harris (17 pts) scored in double figures for the 15th time this season
Akil Mitchell (13 pts) scored in double figures for the 13th time this season
Paul Jesperson's eight points were an ACC career high
Jontel Evans' seven assists ties his season high and his ACC career high
Player Career Highs
Evan Nolte had a career-high seven rebounds
Justin Anderson made a career-high two 3-pointers
Joe Harris tied a career high with four steals
Career Records Watch
Jontel Evans moved into 10th place on Virginia's career assists list with 323, moving past J.R. Reynolds (317, 2004-07)
Neither team took a free throw over the first 26:14 of the game (first were Joe Harris' two attempts at 13:46 of the second half)
John Paul Jones Arena Records
Florida State's 36 points are the fewest scored in arena history
Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett:
On the winning difference today:
"I thought that at the Clemson game we were in the right ballpark in terms of our effort. We were trying to play ruggedly. We got quality looks, but we just didn't make them. We had some good, hard practices leading up to this game. Today, we shot the ball so well and that energized us defensively. They were flying around, but we had some soundness. I thought that we didn't give Florida State any easy looks. It is all sobered however, because of what happened at the end. You see that, and you can't feel as good as you'd like because you hope and pray for their young man. I hope that it's not anything threatening or serious."
On the impact of Paul Jesperson, Justin Anderson, and Evan Nolte:
"When you look at Evan [Nolte]'s stat line, it doesn't look really impressive. The big rebound that he got was an offensive put-back when we needed it. He made things go for us. He was smart the way he was working the top area and I really like the job he did. Justin [Anderson] made some big plays down the stretch with some blocks and he did some other good things. Paul [Jesperson] had some good drives too. "
On the defensive strategy to shut down Michael Snaer:
"Our goal was to be there on the catch. Again, they didn't shoot it as well and hopefully our defense had something to do with that. They had some good looks, but it is hard when you're struggling to get the ball in the basket whether it is for three or not. I think our guys certainly fed off the energy and the atmosphere. It seemed like we went up a notch from our last home game, and that is terrific. When those guys weren't hitting their shots and we were limiting them to one shot, it made a difference."
Virginia Junior Guard Joe Harris:
"We just talked about how we wanted to work the ball, really get it side-top-side and make the defense work, typical stuff we try to do every week with just more of an emphasis this week."
On the home court advantage:
"I think it's a big deal. When you can play at home with an inexperienced team like we have is nice. Having the momentum on your side, and almost that sixth-man mentality helps out a lot."
On Virginia's defense:
"Everyone knew their personnel, our coaches had us prepared. We knew our assignments, everyone did what we talked about in practice, and we just came out and executed defensively"
Junior Forward Akil Mitchell:
"It was just night and day from the last couple games. Getting back in the gym, everybody's been working hard. Just working on our shots, and getting extra shots in practice is starting to show up and pay off."
On Evan Nolte:
"I think he did a great job on the boards. They were double-teaming me and really focusing on keeping me off the glass and that's where Evan had a lot of opportunities to get some key boards. So, even though he didn't shoot the ball well, he did some little things that really help us win games."
On Virginia's offense:
"I feel like sometimes we go into lulls where we relax too much on our outside shooting. If were shooting it well then we're playing great, but if not we slow down and don't really look to touch the paint too much. In the first half, we were getting into the paint and getting low post touches, working our way inside out and hitting shots, and I think our confidence just started to grow from there."
Virginia Senior Guard Jontel Evans:
On Justin Anderson:
"He just brings so much energy when he comes into the game that he gives us a boost. When he's playing well, that's just a bonus. Today, he hit two big threes and on defense had some key blocks for us that helped us."
On beating Florida State:
"I knew I had never beaten them. I told the guys today they owe us one. They stole one from us last year at the buzzer. We practiced hard this week and guys came into the game with the right focus, and it showed. Now, I've beaten everyone in the ACC but Duke, and this is our year."
On the game:
"It was good. That week off really helped us, got some guys focused. We came out on fire and clicking on all cylinders, on both ends, but I really feel like our defense was what made the difference."
On his technical foul:
"First technical here. Lost my cool. He did something I didn't like and I reacted the wrong way. Shouldn't have done that. As a senior, that's unacceptable."
Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton:
On injury to Terrance Shannon:
"I can't really tell you anything about Terrence right now, but we do know that when he was going down he hit his head on a player's thigh I believe. He had a, I guess what you call in football, a stinger; I still don't really know what that is. He had an issue about three or four weeks ago when his neck got twisted so it's unfortunate. They said he was moving his extremities."
On the game:
"As far as the game is concerned, we did know that they are a good three-point shooting team but we didn't act like it. We've had a defensive system in place now for a number of years that seems to have been fairly effective against good teams, so I have to give Virginia credit because I think they were patient like they normally are and they executed well. We seemed to lose out defensive focus for the first 10-12 minutes of the game. They did a great job of executing and moving the ball down quickly and we did a poor job of locating their shooters."
On Virginia's execution:
"They just played lights out. They came closer to executing what their game plan was better than we did. They had a defensive plan that they executed better than we did. They did a better job of stopping us defensively than we did. They didn't do anything differently that we haven't seen, they just did a very good job executing offensively, while we did a very poor job defensively."
Florida State Senior Guard Michael Snaer:
On poor shooting:
"We normally make those shots, but tonight we just couldn't hit and it changed the game. Normally, we have some good looks and normally we hit those shots down. You can assume it won't be the same thing when we come out for our next game."