Florida State forward Jamir Watkins (2) dunks the ball with...

Florida State forward Jamir Watkins (2) dunks the ball with Virginia Tech center Lynn Kidd, left, looking on during the second half of an Atlantic Coast Conference second round NCAA college basketball tournament game Wednesday, March 13, 2024, in Washington. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

WASHINGTON — Jamir Watkins scored 12 of his career-high 34 points in the final three minutes, Jalen Warley added 18 points and No. 9 seed Florida State pulled away in the second half to beat No. 8 seed Virginia Tech 86-76 on Wednesday in the second round of the ACC Tournament.

Watkins was 9 of 15 from the field and 14 of 17 at the free-throw line to set a program record for points in an ACC Tournament game. He also had 11 rebounds and four steals. Warley made 8 of his 10 shots as Florida State shot 54% from the field.

Virginia Tech was 4-of-17 shooting in the opening 17 minutes of the second half. The Hokies also finished with 13 turnovers, leading to 25 points for the Seminoles.

Florida State (17-15) advances to play top-seeded and fourth-ranked North Carolina in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The Seminoles dropped both regular-season meetings with the Tar Heels, 78-70 on the road and 75-68 at home. Florida State hasn't beaten North Carolina since the 2020-21 season.

Tyler Nickel sank a long 3-pointer with 7:28 left to tie it at 57-all, but Virginia Tech did not make another field goal until Sean Pedulla’s basket with 2:42 left to pull within 71-62.

Florida State took advantage of back-to-back Virginia Tech turnovers with layups by Warley and Primo Spears to take a 63-58 lead with 5:01 left. Another steal under the basket led to Warley’s fast-break layup to make it 68-58 at 3:06.

Each team turned it over on an inbounds play and Watkins was fouled before making two free throws at 2:49. Watkins added two more free throws at 2:30 and had an alley-oop dunk at 2:11 for a 74-65 lead.

Florida State guard Primo Spears (23) and Virginia Tech guard...

Florida State guard Primo Spears (23) and Virginia Tech guard Hunter Cattoor (0) run after the ball during the second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference second round NCAA college basketball tournament game Wednesday, March 13, 2024, in Washington. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

Spears finished with 10 points for the Seminoles.

Pedulla scored 24 points, Nickel added 18 and MJ Collins had 15 for Virginia Tech (18-14).

Both teams shot 55% or better from the field in the first half. Virginia Tech shot 64% (16 of 25), despite going 4 of 11 from 3-point range, in the first half before finishing at 49%.

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