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March 14, 2013

Seminoles Start ACC Tourney with Tight Win Over Clemson


Florida State kept their postseason pulse alive on Thursday night with a nailbiting 73-69 win over Clemson.

It wasn't pretty, it didn't exactly smack of dominance, but the Seminoles got what they needed against the Tigers. They simply needed a win and despite struggling for the first 38 minutes against Clemson, the bow finally broke late and the Seminoles were able to keep their postseason hopes alive.

You can read the recap here

Florida State got some big performances from some key veterans to help them pull this game out. Perhaps the biggest impact was had by Terrance Shannon. Shannon scored 12, but his presence has been sorely missed over the past month or so and the fact he was able to contribute good, physical minutes under the basket was a major plus for the Seminoles.

Of course the biggest impact was the one made by Okaro White. White picked a good time to go for a career high 24 points. Throughout the game White was making his case for why he will be one of the most dynamic players in the ACC come next season. White has improved statistically in each of his first three seasons and really learned to use his length and athleticism to his advantage this past offseason. That was on full display against the Tigers Thursday night and with another year in the gym, White could be one of the top seniors in all of college basketball come next season. 

For as much as White shouldered the offensive load for the Seminoles, it was Michael Snaer who continued to hit key free throws as the officials took the game over down the stretch. 

It's never a good sign when both teams are in the double bonus with around seven minutes to go in the game. In the crucial moments on Thursday night it was free throws that proved decisive more so than, you know, players actually playing basketball. Some questionable officiating quickly erased a double-digit Florida State lead late in the second half and put Clemson within a score in the final seconds.

That was where Snaer stepped in and delivered in the clutch. Snaer only had ten points, but he was 4/4 from the charity stripe and they all came in the final seconds of the game when FSU had to have them.

When the final buzzer sounded it was 73-69 and the Seminoles had the Tar Heels of UNC waiting for them in round two.

Now the Seminoles' margin for error decreases substantially though. With North Carolina on deck and two more rounds beyond that game, Florida State needs to play its best basketball to have any prayer of sneaking into the NCAA tourney by winning their conference tournament. They have a puncher's chance, but still not a good one. 

But for tonight, the Seminoles stay alive.

They play UNC tomorrow at 9 PM.


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