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Virginia beats Florida State for first time since 2007

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Virginia opened up an 18-point halftime lead over Florida State and cruised to a 56-36 win Saturday afternoon at the John Paul Jones Arena.

Virginia (12-5, 2-2 ACC) ended a seven-game losing streak to FSU (10-7, 2-2) dating back to 2007. The win also snapped a two-game losing skid for the Cavaliers.

Florida State had picked up two road wins to start league play and looked on its way to turning things around. However, the Seminoles have now lost two in a row after dropping a home game to North Carolina last Saturday.

Virginia guard Joe Harris had a game-high 17 points while forward Akil Mitchell had 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

"It was just night and day from the last couple games," Mitchell said.

The Cavaliers made 7 of 13 3-pointers, with all seven makes coming in the first half.

"We did know that they were a good 3-point shooting team," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "But we didn't act like it."

Michael Snaer's nine points led the Seminoles, who did not have a player in double figures as they scored a season-low 36 points. The previous low came in a 72-47 home loss to Florida.

"We just couldn't hit (shots), and it changed the game," Snaer said. "We got some good looks, and normally we would knock those shots down."

Florida State had 18 turnovers and made just 1 of 15 3-pointers, an area that concerned Virginia coach Tony Bennett considering the Seminoles were making 39.1 percent coming into the game.

"Obviously, we shot the ball so well, and that energized us defensively," Bennett said. "They were flying around, and they had some soundness for the most part. I just thought we didn't give Florida State a lot of easy looks."

The Seminoles cut the lead to 35-21 with 15:58 left on Okaro White's layup. However, that was the closest the Seminoles got in the second half.

The game got a little chippy late. Virginia point guard Jontel Evans and Florida State's White were both issued technical fouls with 9:11 to play after exchanging words during a dead ball.

In a scary moment, Seminoles forward Terrance Shannon had to be taken off the floor on a stretcher with 3:59 to go. Shannon lowered his head to pull through after corralling an offensive rebound. His head hit Virginia forward Evan Nolte's hip and Shannon fell to the floor.

Florida State trainer Samuel Lunt said Shannon suffered a stinger. Lunt also said Shannon had movement in his extremities as he left the court.

A Florida State spokesman said Shannon was taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center, where he was expected to undergo an MRI and be kept overnight.

Hamilton said Shannon had suffered another neck injury within the last month.

"It's unfortunate," Hamilton said. "I'm sure we'll know (more) here shortly."

Bennett said Shannon's injury took some of the luster out of the win.

"It's all kind of sobering just because of what happened at the end," Bennett said. "You see that, you can't feel as good as you'd like to after a win like that because you hope and pray for their young man."

Virginia led 33-15 at halftime after shooting 77.8 percent (7-of-9) on 3-pointers.

"They executed so well that we seemed to lose our defensive focus in the first 10-12 minutes of the game," Hamilton said. "They did a great job of executing, moving the ball quickly, and we did a poor job locating their shooters."

The Cavaliers led by as many as 20 in the opening period. Justin Anderson's 3-pointer from the corner capped a 12-0 run to make it 33-13 with 3:03 to play in the half.

Florida State shot just 31.8 percent (7-of-22) from the field and made 1-of-9 threes in the first half, making just one field goal in the final 10:25. The 15 first-half points tied the season low for points in a half. Florida State also had 15 points in the first half of its loss to Florida.

The Seminoles also turned the ball over 12 times and had just two assists.

NOTES: Florida State leads the series 21-18. ... Virginia starting forward Darion Atkins missed the game with a shin injury. Nolte started in his place. ... Neither team attempted a free throw until Harris went to the line with 13:46 left in the second half.
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