Michael Snaer did what Seminoles' fans have become accustomed to on Thursday night at the Tucker Center, after the Florida State (11-7, 3-2 ACC) offense struggled for most of the night and the defense had issues of its own, the unflappable senior guard took an in-bounds pass with just eight seconds remaining in a tied game and buried a contested three as the buzzer rang, sinking Clemson 60-57.
The Seminoles shot just 40.7% on the night, were out-rebounded and at times looked lost in the paint defensively, but after a couple of late game runs erased an 11-point Clemson lead, Florida State did just enough to eke out the win over the Tigers (10-8, 2-4 ACC).
There was very little doubt when Snaer took the in-bounds what he intended to do. The 6'5 guard raced down the court, went to his very favorite spot along the perimeter and put up a three-pointer with two men in his face that found the backboard and then the bottom of the basket. Afterwards he raced back up the court to the students' section, jumped the first row and shouted 'This is OUR (expletive) house!'
"It felt good leaving my hands, I didn't know how it was going in but I was just like, 'this is probably going in,' it felt good," joked Snaer after the game. "I've had the lucky touch before, you've got a guy who's got that lucky touch I guess you've just got to give it to him."
The game started out slowly with both teams combining for just 17 points in the first eight-plus minutes, the lone highlight during the early going coming on a fearsome Okaro White putback that put the Seminoles up 13-12 about ten minutes in.
Florida State ran into trouble early though when Kiel Turpin collected two first half fouls and headed to the bench. Without Terrance Shannon available, the Seminoles struggled to stop Clemson inside and Senior C Devon Booker lead with 11 first half points.
Clemson used a 16-0 first half run to head into the tunnel up 29-21. FSU shot just 32 percent in the first half and didn't start much better in the second.
Fortunately their defense tightened up, limiting Clemson to just 32% shooting in the second half and their offense utilized several small runs to claw their way back into the game. It wasn't pretty though. It took FSU nearly 28 minutes of basketball to top 30 points.
It got tight in the final four minutes though, with neither team leading by more than a basket the rest of the way.
After getting the ball back with around a minute left, trailing by three, Devon Bookert made a game-tying three-pointer.
Clemson was unsuccessful on their ensuing possession, airing out a three-point attempt that was contested by the Florida State defense as the shot clock expired.
From there, with eight seconds left, it was all Snaer.
Michael Snaer's game-winning shot was like a microcosm of the Seminoles entire night on offense. Originally a play called to penetrate, Snaer admitted to being caught a little off guard by the way Clemson defended him, got to midcourt late and heaved up a contested three just beyond the arc in the oh-so-fateful spot he beat Duke and Va Tech last season. It looked forced and it didn't come easily, but in the end it was enough to pull out the win.
After getting the ball back with around a minute left trailing by three Devon Bookert made a game-tying three-pointer. Clemson was unsuccessful on their ensuing possession, airing out a three-point attempt that was contested by the Florida State defense as the shot clock expired.
"There's no one on the team we'd rather have shoot the three," said Kiel Turpin. "When we saw there was like eight seconds left we said, 'Oh it's going to Mike.'"
Snaer didn't disappoint.
Kiel Turpin had a big second half after playing just four minutes in the first. Coming into the game he had a career high seven points, he scored 16 against Clemson on Thursday night.
"After my two fouls Terrance [Shannon] pulled me aside like, 'you've got to step up,'" said Turpin of the advice he received from his injured teammate. Shannon went down hard in the Virginia game last weekend and had to be kept overnight for observation, with him on the shelf, Turpin responded with a career-best second half.
Okaro White also added ten and Devon Bookert had 11, but the night- and the highlight reel- belonged to Michael Snaer.
Last season, around this time a big win on the road against Clemson and a Michael Snaer ACC-Championship prediction put the Seminoles on the path towards their first ACC title. This year when asked Snaer was a lot more conservative, but confident nonetheless.
"I just think this is a turning point in our season, this was a critical game and we've got a little momentum going forward and this could be the boost we've needed to catapault our season," said Snaer. "It's desperation for us, we need this, we need every single win from this point out, we need a big run to keep our hopes and dreams alive."
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