No. 2 men’s basketball takes on Florida State in conference clash

Cavaliers look to remain unbeaten in ACC after historic win at the Carrier Dome

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Virginia redshirt freshman guard De’Andre Hunter scored 15 points off the bench this past weekend against Syracuse.

Alexa Patel | Cavalier Daily

Still without a loss in the ACC, No. 2 Virginia hits the road again to take on Florida State Wednesday for another game of conference play.

The Cavaliers (22-1, 11-0 ACC) enter the game riding a 14-game winning streak, with their most recent win being a 59-44 victory against Syracuse over the weekend.

"There's a lot of hype around us," Virginia sophomore guard Kyle Guy said. "And we've just got to stay humble and be unified as a team and just try to keep our heads down and win the game."

In Saturday’s game, Virginia and Syracuse (16-8, 5-6 ACC) played in front of the largest crowd to witness a college basketball game this season. However, the Cavaliers didn’t shy away from the big stage. Instead, they held Syracuse to the fewest points ever recorded by a Syracuse team in the Carrier Dome. The offensive struggles for the Orange were especially felt in the end of the game when the team managed to score only one basket in the final seven minutes. 

"Those numbers and records, that doesn't matter," Virginia Coach Tony Bennett said. "I just thought for the most part we were persistent in [contesting] their shots, and our guys didn't let down from start to finish, because we knew that would be key.”

Like Syracuse, Virginia senior guard Devon Hall wasn’t much of a factor on offense and was kept scoreless for the first time this season. However, other Cavaliers were able to find success and secure the win. Particularly, redshirt freshman guard De’Andre Hunter proved to be a big factor off the bench as he led the team in scoring with 15 points after shooting 5-6 on the court. Another presence off the bench was redshirt sophomore Mamadi Diakite, who put up 12 points to match his career high. Guy, who currently leads the team in average points with 15.5, put up 14 points to also contribute to the win.

“We knew coming up here what it was going to take,” Bennett said. “There's a heightened level of attention and focus [by opponents] because of the position we're in. So [UVA's players should] acknowledge that and be ready for it and play with joy. Play hard, but play with joy."

The Cavaliers now face the task of trying to extend their winning streak by another game in Tallahassee, Fla. as they take on a well-balanced Florida State (17-6, 6-5 ACC).

The Seminoles come into the game after picking up a tight 80-76 win at Louisville. Six different players on Florida State posted double-figures in the game, but senior forward Phil Cofer’s 16 points made for a team-high. On the season, Cofer averages 13.4 points, which makes him one of three players averaging in double-figure scoring for the Seminoles. Junior guard Terance Mann is also putting up a high number of points with an average of 15.5 on the season, and not far behind him is senior guard Braian Angola with 14.1 points.

The Seminoles — who have only lost one game at home this season — beat the Cavaliers the last two times the teams have clashed. Last year, Florida State edged out Virginia with a 60-58 win at JPJ, and the year before, it was a 69-62 win for the Seminoles at home.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., and it will be Virginia’s last game before the squad returns to Charlottesville to host ESPN’s “College GameDay” and instate rival Virginia Tech Saturday.  

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