Five days after serving a one-game suspension for an undisclosed violation, Michael Snaer returned to the Florida State lineup and responded by providing the type of senior leadership – and scoring – that the Seminoles have desperately needed.
Michael Snaer scored a career-high 30 points in Florida State's win over Charlotte.
Paced by Snaer's career-high 30 points and five 3-pointers, FSU erased a five-point halftime deficit and topped the Charlotte 49ers 79-76 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.
“Mike really stepped up – he made some big shots,” FSU assistant Corey Williams said. “He was an emotional leader for our basketball team, he got guys involved. He understood the magnitude of this basketball game and he played with everything he had.”
The win moves the Seminoles to 7-4 and gives them a victory in their first true road game. FSU is now 3-0 in games away from the Donald L. Tucker Center and will play its next four away from home.
Charlotte (11-2) took advantage of Florida State foul trouble at the end of the first half to go on a 7-2 run and take a a 40-35 lead into halftime.
The Seminoles, though, by outscoring Charlotte 11-5 to begin the second half and took the lead on Snaer's jumper with 15:31. A Snaer free throw and five consecutive points from Montay Brandon extended the lead to 52-45 and FSU never trailed again.
“Sometimes, in the course of the year, you've got to have games where you battle, you fight through it and you find a way to win,” Williams said. “We did that today.”
That's not to say FSU had a smooth ride to the final buzzer.
Florida State lead 71-64 with 3:45 to go, but Charlotte fought back with layups from Chris Braswell, Willie Clayton and and a 3-point play from DeMario Mayfield that handed Okaro White his fifth foul and brought the 49ers to within two.
The Seminoles hit 6 of 8 free throw attempts to keep Charlotte at arm's length until the game ended.
“This is very good for us,” Williams said. “This was a hostile environment. The Charlotte fans came out to support their team and this bodes well for us in the future. If we can do this and build off of this, then some good things will take place.”
Aaron Thomas scored a career high 17 points and Okaro White added 10 for FSU, which next faces Tulsa in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise on Dec. 29.