Feb. 16, 2013
Donald L. Tucker Center // Tallahassee, Fla.
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Managing Editor
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Michael Snaer is on the team so Florida State is more than familiar with tense, final-seconds moments in conference games. Saturday's game against Boston College had the same happy outcome FSU has grown accustomed to thanks to Snaer's magical shooting touch but the manner in which it was achieved was much different.
Instead of their clutch senior shooting for the win, the 'Noles escaped with a 69-66 thanks to a shot by the Eagles -- a looked-good-when-it-left 3-pointer at the buzzer by Ryan Anderson that would have forced overtime but instead clanked off the front of the rim.
Crisis avoided, win-column regained.
Following consecutive losses to Wake Forest and Miami, the 'Noles (14-11, 6-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) needed this one with road games at NC State and Virginia Tech on the horizon and the regular season winding down.
The continued strong play of freshman point guard Devon Bookert helped, as the Alaska native was in the starting lineup for the second time in as many games. Bookert finished with five points, a career-high eight assists and a most-important zero turnovers as he grows more and more comfortable running the 'Noles' show.
"It's a lot easier when you've got a point guard on the floor that knows what his role is and is really good at passing and setting people up," Snaer said. "Getting us in and out of our offense and that is something we really struggled with early in the season. Devon moving into that spot has really helped us gel and be a good team."
Bookert's favorite target against the Eagles (11-14, 3-9) was Snaer, who hit the 20-point plateau for the first time in ACC play this season with a game-high 21. Snaer was 8-of-10 from the field, 1-of-2 from long range and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free-throw line to go along with six rebounds and two assists.
Okaro White added 13 points, a team-high eight rebounds, a block and two steals in the winning effort. Terry Whisnant III came off the bench to post seven points, Kiel Tuprin has six points and two monster blocks in the second half and Aaron Thomas had six points of his own.
"All of our guys did a good job of relocating," Bookert said. "Whenever someone drove in they just relocated and went to open spots and I just tried to find them. They did the work and finished."
Olivier Hanlan scored 19 points to lead Boston College while Patrick Heckmann and Anderson had 10 points each. The Eagles shot 44.4 percent from the floor, including a56.3-percent from 3-point distance and the Seminoles shot 51 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from long distance, which helped combat Boston College's 15 second-chance points thanks to 12 offensive rebounds.
Boston College heated up in the early goings of the second half with a flurry of 3-pointers to take its first lead of the day at 45-42. But White's alley-oop slam off the inbounds helped spark back-to-back 3-pointers from Snaer and Ian Miller before Bookert's nifty assist to Turpin down low and Boris Bojanovsky's jumper had FSU up 54-47 with 8:06 left thanks to a 12-2 run.
After closing it to within a 54-53 score, the Eagles then saw Snaer hit consecutive shots and Whisnant bury a triple before Eddie Odio slammed home a put-back dunk for Boston College's seventh offensive rebound of the game to make it a 62-57 score with 2:51 left to play. Snaer answered with two free throws on the other end and Turpin registered back-to-back one handed blocks to send the crowd into a tomahawk-chopping frenzy before Rahon's 3-pointer quickly halted the excitement.
The 'Noles and Eagles then traded free throws and Boston College earned two critical defensive stops in the final minute-and-half to the scoreboard at 66-62 with 35.8 seconds remaining.
After trading two Hanlan free throws for two Bookert free throws, Lonnie Jackson drove unimpeded to the hoop for lead-cutting lay-up that trimmed FSU's advantage to 68-66 with 6.4 ticks on the game clock left. White then calmly impounded the ball to Whisnant, who was fouled and made one of two attempts at the line with 5.2 seconds remaining. Anderson had a good look from 3-point range on the opposite end but was too short much to the delight of the home crowd.
"We went into this game and thought that Boston College was an extremely dangerous team because they were a little farther along with their execution of their offensive system than maybe our defensive system was," FSU coach Hamilton said. "They've done a great job all year long of getting guys in and out of their system creating high percentage shots for their team. A lot of backdoors, a lot of slot passes and we kind of changed our defensive schemes a little bit just because out of respect of their ability to execute and get easy opportunities."
Florida State built a 12-0 lead in the first half before Boston College generated a 9-0 run. Despite that, FSU took a 31-26 advantage into halftime -- the first 'Noles lead at the break since Jan. 5 when they were up 38-36 at Clemson