Both teams will be following up dramatic weekend wins when Virginia hosts No. 5 Florida State in ACC play on Tuesday night in Charlottesville, Va.
The Seminoles (17-2, 7-1 ACC) won their 10th straight game and improved to 10-0 at home Saturday with a hard-fought 85-84 victory against Notre Dame.
The Cavaliers (13-6, 5-4) had to go to overtime Sunday to secure a 65-63 decision at Wake Forest, just the second win in six games for the defending national champs.
There was also plenty of drama when these teams met just two weeks ago in Tallahassee, Fla., with Florida State needing a 10-3 run to close out a 54-50 win.
“Unfortunately, in the ACC, 70 percent of the games are decided by four points or less and we are right in the middle of it,” Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said after beating the Fighting Irish. “We’ve just got to keep trying to find ways to win and … maybe we will have some opportunities to be proud at the end of the season.”
Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett offered a similar sentiment about the conference’s competitive nature after defeating the Demon Deacons.
“To come away with this one was important, because in this league, as you’re seeing, whoever’s ready and whoever’s playing the best that day has a chance,” Bennett said.
Both teams got big games from unexpected sources to notch their most recent wins.
Florida State sophomore forward Wyatt Wilkes scored a career-high 19 points in 19 minutes off the bench against Notre Dame, hitting 5 of 6 shots from 3-point distance.
Virginia junior guard Tomas Woldetensae sank 7 of 14 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 21 points and six rebounds at Wake Forest.
In the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 15, sophomore guard Devin Vassell scored 18 points and sophomore guard Anthony Polite knocked down all four of his attempts from beyond the arc and added 14 points off the bench for the Seminoles.
“Some people will say this was not a very pretty game, but it was beautiful to me,” Hamilton said after the win against UVA. “This was a typical, knockdown drag-out game.”
Senior forward Mamadi Diakite was the only Cavaliers player in double digits with 16 points. Woldetensae had nine points and made 3 of 4 3-pointers, but the rest of the team was a combined 0 of 11 from deep. Virginia also committed 18 turnovers as Florida State finished with 10 steals and five blocks.
“We had a chance,” Bennett said afterward. “Those self-inflicted wounds sting, but you look at it and take some of the positives and move on and keep trying to grow as a team. Our inexperience shows at times and that is a lot to overcome, but the team didn’t back down in terms of their effort.”
Virginia sophomore swingman Kody Stattmann did not travel to Wake Forest because of a concussion he suffered in practice late last week. His status for Tuesday is questionable. Florida State freshman forward Patrick Williams missed the Notre Dame game with a toe injury and his status is uncertain.
–Field Level Media