CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — For all Dwayne Bacon had done to give No. 20 Florida State a chance of winning at Virginia, he went into the game’s final seconds feeling responsible for giving the Seminoles a chance to lose by being out of position when Kyle Guy hit a go-ahead 3-pointer for the Cavaliers with 8.8 seconds left.
Lucky for the Seminoles, on a career night for the sophomore, he converted his one chance to make amends, hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with 4 seconds left as the Seminoles handed the 12th-ranked Cavaliers just their second loss in their last 37 ACC home games, 60-58 on Saturday.
“I thought I had messed up when Kyle Guy hit the shot and I didn’t go all the way down on the baseline,” Bacon said.
His game-winner, giving him 26 of his career-high 29 points after halftime, was a step-back with Isaiah Wilkins in his face.
“I’m a guy that I want the ball in my hands in the last minutes of a game, no matter what type of situation it is,” Bacon said. “I had already hit five 3s so I was just like, `I’ll try this.”‘
Bacon scored the last seven points during a 9-0 run for the Seminoles (14-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) that turned a 51-49 deficit into a 56-51 lead, and then was the obvious choice to try and answer after Guy got free in the right corner, giving Virginia a 58-57 lead.
“We went to him repeatedly and he pulled us out,” Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett said he had no issue with Wilkins’ defense on the winning shot.
“The shot he hit at the end of the game, from my vantage point, was pretty contested,” he said. “He just rose up. That’s elite scoring.”
Guy scored 14 points and three others had 10 for Virginia (11-2, 1-1).
Xavier Rathan-Mayes added 10 points for the Seminoles, all in the first half.
The Seminoles won their 10th straight as they began a stretch of six consecutive games against teams in the Top 25, or likely to be there.
Virginia’s London Perrantes tried a half-court heave at the buzzer, and it was on line, but came up well short.
Florida St.: The Seminoles under Hamilton have always been physical defensively, and their physicality, length and athleticism are also paying off at the free throw line this season. Florida State has made more free throws than its opponent attempted seven times this season. The `Noles were already 9 for 17 from the line when Mamadi Diakite attempted Virginia’s first free throw with 12:19 left in the game, and Florida State finished 12 of 24 for the line while the Cavaliers were just 3 for 5.
Virginia: Guy appears to be getting more comfortable and assertive offensively, which will help the Cavaliers since Perrantes still goes long stretches without looking to score and others are inconsistent. Perrantes’ first shot against the Seminoles came with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the half and his first basket came on a 3-pointer 3:17 before halftime.
The game-winner was the second of Bacon’s career, and came almost a year to the day since his first one.
He hit one with 4.4 seconds left to give the Seminoles a 73-71 victory at Florida on Dec. 29, 2015.
Virginia had 13 turnovers, including four by Perrantes, and while that isn’t a big number for most teams, Virginia came in averaging 9.4, one of the lowest averages in the country. Several of the giveaways were as much carelessness as defensive pressure.
“When you have some of those careless turnovers or nonchalant turnovers, it’s hard to win when a guy’s playing like that,” Bennett said.
Virginia allowed Bacon to rebound his own missed free throw and make a 15-foot jumper with 2:56 remaining.
The Seminoles are at home next Saturday against Virginia Tech, which thumped No. 5 Duke 89-75 on Saturday.
Virginia plays at Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
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