GREENSBORO, N.C. — Guard Joe Harris broke out of a shooting slump to match his season high with 20 points as sixth-ranked Virginia beat Florida State 64-51 in Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinal play Friday afternoon at Greensboro Coliseum.
Reserve forward Anthony Gill scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half for top-seeded Virginia, which will make its first semifinal appearance since 1995.
The Cavaliers (26-6), who are playing as the tournament’s No. 1 seed for the first time since 1981, head to the semifinals Saturday to face the winner of the Pittsburgh-North Carolina game.
Virginia built a 15-point lead by midway through the second half on its way to beating the Seminoles for the third time this season.
Harris, a senior, made 14 of 49 shots across the last five games of the regular season, but he notched his most points of the season against an ACC opponent in Friday’s game. He was on the winning side in a game in the ACC tournament for the first time.
Virginia lost its previous four outings in ACC tournament play.
Forward Okaro White scored 17 points and guard Aaron Thomas had 13 points for the ninth-seeded Seminoles (19-13), who were unable to secure a much-needed marque victory to bolster its chances of making the NCAA Tournament.
Florida State, which eliminated Maryland a day earlier on a last-second dunk, also received 10 points from guard Ian Miller.
The outcome gives Virginia 26 victories for the first time since a 29-win campaign in 1982-83.
Virginia was coming off a loss to Maryland on Sunday, when its school-record 13-game ACC winning streak was snapped by Maryland.
Gill’s jumper to end the first half put Virginia ahead 32-25, matching its largest lead. Before that, Gill twice scored on dunks off offensive rebounds.
Gill had a total of 10 points in two regular-season games against Florida State.
The Cavaliers also received an encouraging boost from Harris, who made four of his first six attempts from the field and had 10 points by halftime.
White racked up 13 points in the first half for Florida State, which went to a smaller lineup in stretches.
Florida State center Boris Bojanovwsky, who scored the winning points against Maryland, was without a point and had only one rebound after a double-double a day earlier.
Florida State’s only three losses in the last month have come against teams in the current national rankings, also falling in home games with North Carolina and Syracuse.
The last time Virginia defeated the same opponent three times in a season came in 2006, with Virginia Tech the victim.
NOTES: Virginia won its 11th game of the season away from home, matching its largest total in that category in 19 years. … Florida State G Ian Miller was in the starting lineup for the seventh consecutive game even though he was named the ACC’s Sixth Man of the Year by coaches earlier in the week. … Virginia G Justin Anderson was named the top sixth man in media voting. … Virginia is one of three teams nationally to improve on its victory total for the fifth consecutive year.
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