Feb. 10, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Virginia coach Dave Leitao has seen all he wants to of Florida State's Toney Douglas.
Douglas scored 19 points and matched a career high with seven assists Tuesday as the 25th-ranked Seminoles defeated Leitao's Cavaliers 68-57, handing Virginia its eighth consecutive loss -- including two to the Seminoles.
"Ultimately it comes down to a guy who knows he is good and understands how and when to be good," a somber Leitao said. "He's smart enough to use himself as a decoy." Douglas, the ACC's leading scorer in conference competition, scored 15 points in a decisive second half -- including successive 3-point shots just 25 seconds apart that gave Florida State a 40-35 lead.
"He took it over with big shots," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said. "He's at another level than most of the other guys."
The Seminoles (19-5, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) shook off a woeful first-half shooting effort with a blistering 70.8 percent performance in the second half. Virginia (7-13, 1-8) was led by Sylven Landesberg's 14 points.
Uche Echefu added 17 points and Solomon Alabi had 13 for the Seminoles, which took the lead for good at 43-41 on Deividas Dulkys second of 3-point baskets. It was the second straight double-figures showing for Alabi, who had 17 points to accompany Douglas' 23 in Saturday's win at Clemson.
"Once my teammates start hitting shots it's impossible," Douglas said. "Nobody can guard them."
Alabi, who made 10-of-15 shots in Florida State's two wins last week and earned the ACC's rookie of the week honors, was 6-for-8 on Tuesday.
"Every day he wakes up he gets better," Leitao said. "It's going to be difficult for any team to stop him."
But the 7-foot-1 Alabi wasn't particularly happy.
"I didn't get enough rebounds. I didn't get enough blocks," said Alabi, who grabbed six rebounds and his 49th and 50th blocked shots of the season.
It was the first time in eight games Douglas failed to score 20 or more points. And he had some chances late in the game, missing a pair of late free throws.
Mike Scott's 3-pointer with 8:26 left gave Virginia its last lead at 41-40.
Jumpers by Alabi and Echefu and a breakaway layup by Douglas -- all within a minute -- gave the Seminoles a 49-43 lead with 5:30 left.
"We can't depend on Toney every night," Echefu said. "We just want to get everybody involved."
And so would Leitao.
"We continue to try and find a way to get us back on track," he said. "We're playing some of the best teams in the country and the margin of error is razor thin."
Virginia, which hasn't won since a 74-50 victory over Brown on Jan. 6, stayed in it early by dominating the boards, allowing Florida State just one offensive rebound in the first half.
The Cavaliers, however, led 22-20 at halftime despite 10 turnovers and shooting just 27.8 percent.
The Seminoles, the lowest-scoring team in the ACC, shot only 26.1 percent in the first half as Douglas managed just four points after going scoreless the first 16:06 while trying to help free his teammates for shots.
"He's trying to get as many of his teammates involved and milk the ability that they have," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "He's playing with that kind of focus."
Florida State moved into The Associated Press' weekly rankings Monday for the first time in more than 11 years on the strength of wins last week over Georgia Tech and Clemson.
Douglas seemed unsure about the additional attention.
"Now that we're ranked, a lot of teams are going to be trying to come at us more than they used to," he said. "We've got to stay on point."