GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Justin Anderson came back for No. 3 Virginia, and Florida State threatened a comeback of its own.
Then Malcolm Brogdon helped the Cavaliers put away the victory.
Brogdon scored all 10 of his points in the final nine minutes of Virginia’s 58-44 victory over the Seminoles on Thursday in an Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinal.
“Malcolm is wired to be aggressive, and I want him to be aggressive,” coach Tony Bennett said.
Mike Tobey and Evan Nolte had 11 points apiece, with Nolte making three 3-pointers, for the top-seeded and defending tournament champion Cavaliers (29-2).
They never trailed, led by 17 and shot 47.5 percent in earning a return trip to the semifinals.
They also welcomed Anderson from injury. The key guard had missed eight games after breaking his finger and then undergoing an appendectomy.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 13 points to lead the ninth-seeded Seminoles (17-16). They hit just one field goal during the final 7 minutes and were denied their third semifinal appearance since 2009.
“We dug a hole for ourselves,” coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Whenever you give a team of that caliber that working margin, obviously, you put yourself in a very difficult situation.”
Still, Florida State twice made it a five-point game in the second half, the last coming on Rathan-Mayes’ layup with just over 7 minutes remaining.
Tobey countered with a dunk two possessions later, and at the other end Florida State’s Montay Brandon was called for an offensive foul that incensed Hamilton – who was hit with a technical foul by official Sean Hull, but later said he didn’t think the call affected the outcome.
Brogdon hit both free throws to put the Cavaliers up 48-39 with 5:29 remaining. He then added two more free throws before his jumper with about 2 1/2 minutes remaining put Virginia back up by double figures at 52-42.
That sent the Cavaliers into a Friday semifinal where they will face No. 19 North Carolina.
But their most important stat line belonged to Anderson – mainly because, for the first time in a long while, he actually had one.
The junior checked in to applause with 15:22 left in the first half, and he went down hard when his only shot of the half was blocked by Jarquez Smith with about 2:15 remaining. He played three minutes in the second half and did not score, finishing 0 for 2 with two rebounds.
“Of course he looked rusty,” Bennett said. “But my hope is the next time he’s out there, he’s better, and you just kind of have to go through that.”