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January 30, 2013

Snaer delivers another game winner

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There could be a day when Michael Snaer can't get a decent look at a game winning shot anymore.

Until then, it seems he'll keep knocking them down.

Snaer buried yet another game winner - with Maryland becoming his fourth ACC victim in about a year - making a three-pointer from the corner to propel the Seminoles past the Terps 73-71 at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Wednesday night.

Trailing 71-70 with 8.9 seconds left, FSU (12-8, 4-3 ACC) inbounded and the ball was passed to Ian Miller on the wing, who drove into the lane. As defenders collapsed, he bobbled the ball, recovered, then found an open Snaer in the corner who buried the shot with 1.1 seconds to play.

"I knew it was in once it left my hand," Snaer said.

Maryland, which led by eight at 62-54 with 6:56 left and was either tied or held the lead for the final 14 minutes until Snaer's jumper, couldn't convert a last-ditch shot on the other end.

"On the last play, give them credit," said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, whose team has lost both meetings with FSU in tight-knit affairs. The Terrapins (15-6) fell to 3-5 in ACC play and remain winless on the road.

"We just kind of panicked and went towards the ball and left Snaer wide open. We knew he was going to make it, he has made a lot of big ones."

Snaer earned the persona of clutch starting with a game winner at Duke last year. He added a game winner against Virginia Tech later in the season. Last week, Snaer's banked-in three led to a win over Clemson, and then came another dagger on Wednesday night.

"I'm not really sure I was thinking, that I had any thoughts at the time," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said, laughing, when asked what he was thinking when Snaer's shot went up, "other than I sure hope that the ball falls in."

Florida State earned the win despite being outrebounded (36-20) in its seventh straight ACC game and allowing the Terps to shoot 53 percent from the field in the second half. To counter, the Seminoles were careful with the basketball, turning it over a season-low six times while piling up 14 assists.

FSU was also buoyed by contributions from its veterans. Snear led with a game-high 19 points while Okaro White went 10-of-10 from the free throw line. Miller, who has been held out of practice due to a foot injury, chipped in 10 points and delivered the game-winning assist.

"For him to come out and give us 10 points and leadership on the floor, I thought really, really made the difference in the game," Hamilton said.

FSU also got solid contributions from freshman big men Michael Ojo, who played a career-high 14 minutes, and Boris Bojanovsky, who tallied eight points.

But when it was crunch time, it was Snaer, who put yet another clutch shot in his cap. Will he see another shot like that? Certainly FSU's next opponent, Duke, Victim No. 1, won't be caught surprised come Saturday.

"I wouldn't expect guys to leave me (open) at this point when you're just that lucky," Snaer said. "Coaches are probably saying 'Don't leave him and we'll be fine.' It just happens."



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