After losing two straight, Florida State was lifted by another Michael Snaer buzzer beater to top the Clemson Tigers in the final seconds, 60-57.
“It was a big win for us," Leonard Hamilton said. "We needed something positive, something happy for us.”
However, a night that ended so joyously for Seminole fans wasn’t always so bright. Instead of being defined by energy as the game of basketball typically is, the first half was defined by turnovers, fouls and mental errors – on both ends.
With Terrance Shannon being sidelined by a neck injury, it wasn’t a stretch to guess that the Seminoles were going to struggle in the post against a team like Clemson with plenty of size. And that guess was right, as Kiel Turpin made an early first visit to the bench less than five minutes into the contest, when he had already picked up his second foul.
The Tigers flourished in the painted area all night long, ending the night having scored 32 of their 57 down low. Clemson also held a significant advantage on the boards, outrebounding FSU 34-23 on the night.
However, just when all hope was seemingly lost, FSU somehow mustered up a run midway through the second half, as the sputtering Seminole offense eventually began finding ways to put points on the board. It was the unlikely source of Turpin who fueled the Seminoles' run, scoring all 16 of his points in the second half of play.
“I think we really played as a team and I called for the ball a lot more, so I think that’s the reason why I got more post touches," Turpin said. "Early in the year, I wasn’t calling for it. I was kind of just standing around.
“And with Terrance hurt, one of the bigs had to step up. I got in foul trouble early in the game and I kind of felt that I needed to do something besides just sit on the bench. I came out with a lot more energy than I did in the first half.”
Then, down by three with less than a minute remaining, freshman Devon Bookert made what looked like would be the biggest play of the evening, knocking down a cold-blooded three to tie the game up at 57.
Michael Snaer finished the night with 11 points, including his game-winning three point bucket.
But that would end up being just a preview of what was to come.
After coming up with a stop on the other end, it was Snaer who would again thrill the FSU fan base. As the game clock expired, the senior guard threw up a prayer of a deep three – and like we’ve seen so many times before, the shot somehow made its way to the bottom of the net after kissing the glass.
And the Civic Center erupted.
Snaer finished the night with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field.
Just when it looked as though FSU’s season could be taking a serious turn for the worse, it was Snaer who again breathed a breath of hope into the Seminoles.
“I’ve had the lucky touch before. You’ve got a guy with that lucky touch and you just got to give it to him, I guess. I don’t know," Snaer said with a grin.
Now, the Seminoles stand with an overall record of 11-7 and with a conference record of 3-2.
FSU will be looking to build off the momentum when it heads down to South Florida for a showdown with Miami this Sunday evening. The experienced-laden Hurricanes, who just thrashed the nation’s top ranked team in Duke, stand atop the Atlantic Coast Conference with a conference record of 5-0.
“It’s going to be very big – another instate rival," Okaro White said of Miami. "We beat them twice last year, they beat us once down there at their house."
If FSU wants to make a statement that it's serious about competing in the ACC, Sunday presents the perfect opportunity to do so -- but the task will be far from easy.
And the Seminoles' veterans are well aware.
“They’re a senior team and those guys," White said, "one thing about them now, they know they’re good, so they’re going to come into the game prepared and with that confidence on their back knowing they can make a run here in ACC play."
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