For just the third time since entering the conference and the first since 2012, Florida State is headed to the ACC Championship.
The fourth-seeded Seminoles got there with a 69-59 win over top-seeded Virginia in the ACC Tournament semifinals on Friday night in Charlotte. In the process, FSU (27-6) tied a program record for wins.
The Seminoles started strong, racing to a 20-10 lead before taking a 35-31 advantage into the break. Virginia led just briefly in the second half on jumpers by De’Andre Hunter and Kihei Clark around a make by FSU’s David Nichols.
FSU trailed 45-44 with more than 13 minutes to go before five straight points from Mfiondu Kabengele put the Seminoles ahead for good. After a 3-pointer from Virginia’s Ty Jerome cut the lead to 49-48, FSU responded with a 13-1 run to create the breathing room necessary for it to roll into the ACC final.
Nichols led FSU with 14 points on an efficient 6-for-8 shooting. Phil Cofer finished with 11 points while Kabengele and Trent Forrest each had 10. Christ Koumadje narrowly missed a third double-double on the season, tallying nine points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Hunter led Virginia (29-3) with 13 points. Kyle Guy scored 11 points and Jerome added 10, but both struggled from the field.
FSU shot 57 percent from the field to 42 percent for Virginia and held a 35-20 rebounding advantage. The Seminoles will face either Duke or North Carolina on Saturday night for the ACC title.