During Florida State’s 79-76 win over Charlotte on Saturday, there were many times when the Seminoles could have allowed the improving 49ers to take control of the game and coast to a win on what was a “neutral” court at Time Warner Cable Arena. However, that never happened as Seminoles senior guard Michael Snaer scored a career high 30 points with numerous key shots in the clutch to allow restructuring FSU to pull out the win.
For the Seminoles to contend in the ACC, Michael Snaer must be a major player in the Seminoles’ scheme. Credit: Florida State University
Snaer’s biggest play came out of a time out late in the game when the 49ers had cut into a comfortable FSU lead to 68-64. He curled opposite the inbounds pass and set up on the left wing and when the basketball swung to his side, he nailed a three-pointer that lifted FSU to a 71-64 lead with 3:45 remaining.
“I shot about 18 shots,” noted Snaer, “I’m gonna have to put the ball up and force us to win with my swagger and my attitude on the court. They gotta know that they got somebody that when things get tight, they can rely on. I didn’t feel like I had to step up and take that challenge and now I realize I have to.”
Snaer was alluding to his role as a team leader on a Florida State team that is now 6-4 and relying strongly on youth. Coach Leonard Hamiton has has freshmen in Devon Bookert, Montay Brandon, and Aaron Thomas playing major minutes. The youthful players are talented, but they needed leadership like Snaer and Okaro White supplied Saturday as Hamilton looks for his team to continue to gell as ACC play is around the corner.
“This time of year because of where we are in development with four freshmen on floor I was concerned,” said Hamilton, “Our freshmen stepped up and Montay stepped up and hit big shots for us and of course Booker gave us good leadership on the floor.”
Snaer came out firing as he hit two of his five triples by the first media timeout as Florida State took a quick lead that was erased with the 49ers outscoring the Seminoles 23-13 over the last eight minutes of the first half to take a 40-35 lead at the break.
Snaer had six more points in the first four and a half minutes of the second half as the Seminoles took a 47-45 lead and never trailed again. He went from not playing in the Seminoles’ last game vs. UL Monroe because of a “discipline issue,” to netting his career high. His week defined the ups and downs of college basketball in a nutshell. When it was all said and done, Snaer definitely did adhere to Hamilton’s message.
“It was all in my mindset, you know, it’s ‘you gotta turn it on.’” Snaer maintained, “After we lost that last game (to Florida, 72-47), I just had a feeling in me that we couldn’t do that any more. We struggled offensively against Florida and we played pretty good defense. Every single night I have to be the guy to show up.”
Hamilton knew that 11-2 Charlotte would present an enormous challenge and that his seniors would have to play with confidence and the freshmen would need to step up to solidify the win.
“Michael stepped up tonight and I thought he gave the other guys some confidence in the way he stepped up,” Hamilton explained, “We are not a well-oiled machine, but I was proud of how we hung in there. Knew this would be really difficult if we didn’t play well because they’re a team on a mission.”
- Ken Cross
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