Sylven Landesberg ‘s 14 points weren’t enough offense to propel Virginia to a win over FSU.
When it rains, it pours.
Virginia once again found itself on the losing end Tuesday night, unable to complete the road upset over No. 25 Florida State 68 to 57 after battling through 10 lead changes. The loss was the Cavaliers’ eighth consecutive.
Despite the eventual 11-point margin, Virginia looked poised to complete the upset until the game’s final eight minutes. The Cavaliers led on and off throughout the game, a rarity during their eight-game skid which dates back to their win over Brown on Jan. 6.
Like so many times this season, Virginia looked like a different team in the second half than in the first, at least defensively. The Hoos came out of the gate strong on defense holding the Seminoles to 26% (6-23) shooting in the first half. Strong double teams from Virginia limited FSU guard Toney Douglas to only four first-half points.
The Seminoles charged out of the gate after the half but were unable to shake off the visitors who matched them shot for shot for more than 10 minutes. The Cavs led with approximately eight minutes to play, but then FSU broke away on a 14-4 run to put the game just out of reach.
The Hoos’ defense fell apart in the second half, allowing the Seminoles to shoot nearly 71% after intermission, including 6 of 9 from 3-point land. The biggest defensive lapses came in FSU’s final run when the Cavaliers allowed Douglas to help his team pull away with back-to-back 3’s. Leitao attributed some of the Seminoles’ run to Douglas’ proven ability to come up big in the second half.
“If you look historically, this year anyway, in regards to Toney Douglas, he’s had tremendous second halves all year,” Leitao told the Virginia Sports Radio Network. “He’s a tremendous player. I thought what he did was establish himself in the second half. A couple of big shots to got them going. I think the team fed off him very well. They played off of his energy, his leadership and obviously they played off his skill because he got them the ball and made more open shots then they had in the first half. I know he had a whole lot to do with it.”
Douglas wasn’t the only Seminole to hurt the Cavs down the stretch, however. Sophomore Solomon Alabi provided FSU with another weapon in the post as he went 6-8 with 13 points.
“We were so focused on Toney Douglas on the perimeter that when he set screens, [Alabi] was doing things under the basket, he slipped and found himself one on one under the basket,” Leitao said. “He’s too long and he’s got too good of touch that if you guard him one-on-one, you’re not going to stop him. ”
Jeff Jones bucketed eight points in 31 minutes against the Seminoles.
Offensive woes once again haunted Virginia on the other side of the ball, making the Seminoles’ hot shooting in the second half even more damaging. UVa positively dominated the offensive glass 21-5 but were unable to convert that into offensive success, only turning that boardwork into 13 2nd chance points. The motion offense, with which the Cavs have struggled so mightily to move the ball, created plenty of open looks for Virginia against FSU.
“More than anything I thought we weren’t as relaxed when we got the ball in our hands on the offensive glass because we were doing everything at a high rate of speed,” Leitao said. “We were defending hard, we were running solid offense, we weren’t scoring well because we were still of the mindset that we were going full speed. … As a result, we had opportunities.”
Despite leading the team in scoring (14 points), Sylven Landesberg continued to struggle with his mid to long range jumpshot. The freshman shot 6-19 overall from the field while Calvin Baker, Mike Scott, and Jeff Jones all chipped in for eight points apiece. Everyone, however, failed to find the hole when Virginia needed it the most.
“Against good defensive teams when you get open, you’ve got to make shots,” Leitao said. “Unfortunately we didn’t.”
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