Cavaliers sweep Seminoles, 67-58, thanks to another solid performance from 3

By Scott Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia completed the season sweep of Florida State Saturday in Tallahassee with a 67-58 win, pulling into a tie for second place in the ACC standings in the process.

The 13th-ranked Cavaliers (13-3, 5-2 ACC) got a game-high 20 points from senior guard Armaan Franklin and 15 more from grad-transfer forward Ben Vander Plas, as the two combined to make 7 of UVA’s 11 3-pointers to lead the attack.

The Seminoles (5-13, 3-4) fell victim to Virginia’s hot start from downtown and hung around throughout the evening, but could never get back within striking distance.

Fifth-year senior Kihei Clark gave the Cavaliers a 41-31 lead on a three-point play early in the second half, after FSU had gotten within two possessions out of the halftime break.

Franklin got past the Seminole defense for an easy layup, and then a Reece Beekman 3 and a Clark driving layup gave the Wahoos their largest lead, 48-34, with 12:44 remaining, part of a 10-3 UVA run.

Florida State responded with a pair of quick buckets before Clark drew three defenders in the post and then kicked it out to a wide-open Franklin for his fourth 3-pointer of the day to make it 51-38 at the 11:04 mark.

The Cavalier first-years got into the act midway through the second half, as Isaac McKneely buried his first long ball of the day and then found classmate Ryan Dunn for an easy two, as UVA pushed the lead to 16, 56-40, with 9:28 to play.

After FSU’s Darin Green Jr. sank a 3-ball, Dunn answered with one of his own from the top of the key on another kick-out assist out of the paint from Clark. The Noles cut it to 10 before Dunn jammed one down as the clock went under five minutes, and then Vander Plas scored his second easy lay-in of the half, and UVA led by a dozen, 65-53, at the final media timeout with 3:20 showing.

“Just be smart,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said he told his team during the huddle. “If you need to, if something’s there, great, but you’ve got to work the clock and just play as good a defense as you can and handle their press. They didn’t come and press as hard and trap — it was a hard playing game, so there could have been some fatigue there.

“But yeah, ‘Don’t give them anything easy and make them earn,’ and when we needed to, we spread the court and tried to get the mismatch and make a few plays.”

From that point on, Virginia was able to close out its third-straight win, shooting 45 percent on the day (27 for 60) and 50 percent from long distance (11 for 22).

Franklin led the way on a solid 8-for-13 performance, sinking 4 of 7 from deep and securing a team-high 7 rebounds. BVP was 6 for 11 from the field and 3 for 6 from 3-point land, also hauling down 7 boards in 34 minutes.

The Hoos also got 9 points each from Clark and Dunn, as Clark added 5 rebounds and a game-high 6 assists. Beekman added 8 points (including a pair of 3-pointers), 3 rebounds and 4 assists, while Dunn came down with 4 rebounds and blocked a career-high and game-high 3 blocks in 17 minutes off the bench.

“We touched on it in practice, getting out to shooters like [Darin Green Jr.], closing out to guys and just being able to slide,” said Dunn of the collective defensive effort. “[Bennett] said offense is going to follow, which it did today which was good, but winning games is defensively, so we just tried to make sure defensively it was good, and the offense I think just came naturally.”

UVA came up short in the rebounding category, 33-32, but outscored the Seminoles 26-18 in the paint and scored 12 points off of 9 FSU turnovers, while only giving the ball away 6 times all day.

The Noles had three players in double figures, led by freshman forward Cam Corhen’s 16 points, while Caleb Mills finished with 14 and Matthew Cleveland notched his seventh-straight double-double with 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. FSU shot 40 percent on the day (21 for 53), 26 percent from 3 (5 of 19) and 79 percent from the charity stripe (11 for 14). Virginia, conversely, went to the line just three times all day, connecting on two of them.

The Hoos knocked down 6 of their first 8 shots of the contest, including 4 of the first 5 from beyond the arc, taking an early 17-9 lead in the opening minutes.

Vander Plas got the start in place of Kadin Shedrick and sank his third triple of the half at the 12:52 mark to make it 20-9, giving the Cavaliers their first double-digit lead of the day. The Ohio transfer scored again on the next trip down, putting himself in double figures less than a minute later.

The Seminoles hit back-to-back 3-pointers from Green and Cleveland to get back within five, 24-19, but Franklin answered with his third of the day from long range, and then Ryan Dunn’s fourth-chance basket pushed the Cavalier advantage back to 10 with five minutes until halftime.

FSU connected on 5 of its last 7 shots of the half, but still trailed by eight, 33-25, going into the locker room. Virginia shot 46 percent in the half, both from the field (13 for 28) and from 3-point range (6 for 13), with Franklin (13 points) and Vander Plas (11) carrying the offensive load.

“I thought we got off to obviously a really good start offensively, and it was of course making some 3s,” said Bennett, “but I liked how, I felt we had [the Seminoles] a little confused, and just, they’re a tricky team to play against.”

Team Notes

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

  • No. 13 Virginia (13-3, 5-2 ACC) completed the two-game season sweep of Florida State (5-13, 3-4)
  • The Cavaliers are 5-2 away from John Paul Jones Arena, including a 3-2 true road record
  • Head coach Tony Bennett recorded his 398th career win
  • Virginia started 5 of 6 from the field, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range
  • The Hoos shot 13 of 28 in the first half and led 33-25
  • UVA went 11 of 22 from 3-point range in the win
  • UVA matched a season low with six turnovers

Series Notes

  • Virginia is 28-28 all-time vs. Florida State, including a 9-17 mark in Tallahassee
  • UVA has limited Florida State to fewer than 70 points in 22 of the last 23 meetings
  • Head coach Tony Bennett is 11-11 all-time vs. Florida State, including a 3-6 mark in Tallahassee

Player Notes

  • Double Figure Scorers: Armaan Franklin (20), Ben Vander Plas (15)
  • Franklin recorded his seventh 20-point game at UVA (4th in 2022-23 and 9th career)
  • Franklin reached double figures for the 45th time
  • Franklin made three or more 3-pointers for the sixth time in 2022-23
  • Vander Plas reached double figures for the 91st time (6th at UVA)
  • Vander Plas made three or more 3-pointers for the third time in 2022-23
  • Ryan Dunn contributed nine points, four rebounds and career-high tying three blocked shots
  • Clark (4,776 minutes) passed Duke’s Jon Scheyer (4,759 from 2003-06) for fourth on the ACC’s career minutes played list
  • UVA started Clark, Beekman, Franklin, Gardner and Vander Plas for the first time and was UVA’s third different starting lineup of the season

The Cavaliers will host the first of two Commonwealth Clash contests against Virginia Tech on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (ESPNU).