TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - M.J. Walker scored 17 points and No. 16 Florida State built a big first-half lead, beating No. 7 Virginia 81-60 on Monday night in a showdown between the top two teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
RaiQuan Gray had 15 points for the Seminoles (12-3, 8-2), and Walker made five of Florida State’s season-high 13 3-pointers - on 24 attempts.
Gray scored in double figures for the seventh straight game. Florida State has won 24 consecutive ACC home games dating to a victory over Clemson on Jan. 22, 2019.
Trey Murphy III had 13 points and Kihei Clark added 12 in the second half for Virginia (15-4, 11-2), which had won four in a row. The 21-point loss is the Cavaliers' largest ACC defeat since losing 65-41 at North Carolina on Feb. 18, 2017.
Florida State jumped on the Cavaliers early. Gray and Walker had nine points apiece as the Seminoles went 6 of 10 from 3-point range on the way to a stunning 45-25 halftime lead.
Murphy’s 3-pointer closed the deficit to 48-41 with 14:24 left, but the Cavaliers couldn’t cut into the lead any further.
"We've been playing some good basketball, for sure we have," Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said after the loss. "It wasn't tonight, partly due to Florida State, partly due to us, but apply it. I think that was our third or fourth game in a short amount of time. So we take a day off, recharge and then you come back guns a blazing with your tenacity, your approach and your focus. We're getting down to the end, that's the thing. You don't want to leave anything on the table. That's what we got to do moving forward."
Virginia was sluggish early with eight first-half turnovers and couldn’t match Florida State’s energy. The Cavaliers had held the Seminoles under 70 points in the previous 19 meetings.
Florida State showed off its depth and defense, securing its biggest win of the season with the type of shooting efficiency Virginia usually displays - going 29 of 58 (50%) from the floor.
It’s tough to envision Virginia dropping too far, especially if it bounces back against Duke. Florida State showed it is worthy of continuing its ascension, especially if it can continue its success against Virginia Tech.
Virginia plays at Duke on Saturday.
Florida State hosts No. 18 Virginia Tech on Saturday.