CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Darion Atkins knew it was time for him to take control when No. 2 Virginia needed a leader.
The Cavaliers’ starting backcourt had both just left the game holding towels over their bloodied heads after a collision, and with a redshirt freshman and freshman suddenly charged with running the offense, Atkins invoked his seniority.
Calling for the ball on the first two possessions after the collision, Atkins converted with baskets inside, helping to settle the shaken Cavaliers, and Virginia held Florida State without a field goal for the final 10:32 in a 51-41 victory Sunday night.
“When the game is on the line, you need guys to step up and make plays,” Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said of Atkins, Virginia’s lone senior. “I thought Atkins made two big plays. Had he missed those, things might have been different.”
Before those plays, the Cavaliers were shaken.
Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes collided during a defensive sequence, and it left Perrantes laying on the floor with a bloodied face, and Brogdon getting assistance from the Seminoles team doctors as Virginia’s attended to Perrantes.
Both headed for the locker room, where Brogdon got three stitches, a bandage and returned quickly to the floor to wild applause. He checked back in almost immediately. Perrantes’ return to the bench came several minutes later. He was in a different jersey, which he quickly covered with a warmup shirt, and he did not return to the game.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett said he had no update on Perrantes’ condition, but Brogdon said Perrantes had sustained a broken nose. The team already lost its No. 2 scorer, Justin Anderson, to a broken finger on Feb. 7 and expects him to be sidelined for 4-to-6 weeks. If Perrantes has to miss any time, Brogdon said, the Cavaliers will have to make another adjustment.
“There’s chemistry that is broken and will have to be rebuilt, just like when Justin left,” he said.
In the game, which was close throughout, Anthony Gill had 13 points and nine rebounds, Atkins scored 11 and Brogdon 10. The Seminoles took the lead for the only time in the second half at 37-36 on a jumper by Jarquez Smith with 10:33 to go, then did not make another field goal and the Cavaliers’ nation-leading scoring defense (50.8 ppg) tightened.
“I thought we won it with our defense, and not our free-throw shooting,” Bennett said. “There were enough stops and it was what we had to do. I thought our guys responded well in a tough situation.”
The Cavaliers’ next game is Wednesday at Wake Forest, which nearly upset Virginia on Feb. 14 before losing 61-60.
Once Florida State went ahead, seldom-used guard Devon Hall, in the game in place of Perrantes, put Virginia back ahead with a reverse layup on the Cavaliers’ next possession and while the game stayed close, Virginia didn’t trail again.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 13 to lead the Seminoles (15-13, 7-8). Florida State shot just 32.6 percent (15-46).
The game figured to be low-scoring with Virginia leading the nation in scoring defense and 50.8 points per game and the Seminoles also defense-minded, and both teams had long scoring droughts by halftime.
The Seminoles went 5:50 without a point in falling behind 12-4 after 8 minutes. Virginia managed only six points during the stretch, and after Mike Tobey’s free throw gave them a 13-6 lead, the Cavaliers went cold, failing to score for the next 6:19. Florida State used a 10-0 run to take a 16-13 lead.
Virginia rallied late in the half to lead 22-21 at the break.
Florida State: Devon Bookert, averaging 11 points, scored just one and missed all eight field goal attempts.
Virginia: The Cavaliers outscored the Seminoles 34-16 in the paint.
Virginia has now held opponents scoreless for periods of 5 minutes of more 24 times this season, and has held teams without a field goal for at least 9 minutes eight times.
Florida State plays at Miami on Wednesday night.
Virginia plays at Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
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