UNC Basketball: Tar Heels lose heartbreaker in ACC semifinal

Zion Williamson

Shocked? You shouldn't be.

In short, this was one quality team besting another.

Seminoles reserve guard David Nichols in particular was able to exploit his matchup against diminutive Virginia guard Kihei Clark, a freshman.

UNC: The Tar Heels are headed to the NCAA Tournament, though it's unclear whether they've done enough to secure a No. 1 seed.

But Virginia seemed a half-step slow Friday, or maybe Florida State was a half-step quicker than usual. The Seminoles built a 35-31 at halftime behind the inside play of Koumadje, who had seven points and nine rebounds in the first half after registering just two points and two rebounds in a 65-52 loss to Virginia earlier this season. The Cavaliers led by 29 before the Seminoles closed the gap against U.Va.'s walk-ons. Florida State has been tenacious in ACC play, holding opponents to only 41.9% from 2P.

Friday was a reversal.

Phil Cofer added 11 points with two rebounds and one assist for the Seminoles in that one as well.

But that's how FSU rolls.

Williamson connected on 13-of-19 shots for the game, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and 3-of-3 from the foul line. The only thing Virginia did better was they only had eight turnovers the entire game. "The loss makes it feel a lot worse".

Even when the Cavaliers did gain possession, Florida State forced almost desperation heaves with the shot clock winding down, with Jerome and Huff both missing badly on three-point attempts. But the Seminoles countered with a 13-1 binge to regain command.

Nichols ended with a game-high 14 points, making 6 of 8 shots.

"Our bench really helped us", Krzyzewski said. They defended well. They were sound, and tonight they were the tougher team, or more physical. "More physical, all of it".

The Cavaliers could still get that seed with a loss today, as they were arguably the top team in the country during the regular season. Oh, and Florida State is No. 12.

Duke moves on to play Florida State for the ACC Championship on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Meanwhile, Virginia will be back in Charlottesville, preparing for Sunday's NCAA bracket reveal and a return to the event that broke the program's heart a year ago with a first-round loss to UMBC. "We've got to worry about that first before we can think about anything else".

"I don't know. Sometimes the ball doesn't go in", Jerome said.

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