CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Michael Snaer is a senior on an otherwise freshman-laden Florida State team, and he takes that responsibility seriously.
Snaer rose to the occasion Saturday, scoring a career-high 30 points as the Seminoles held on to beat Charlotte 79-76. He hit five 3-pointers and made 9 of 10 from the free-throw line as the Seminoles rallied after trailing by five at halftime.
“I’ve said it before, I don’t care what I have to do, if I have to drag this team kicking and screaming I can’t afford to let us lose any more games,” Snaer said. “I know I’m going to have to put the ball up, I know I’m going to have to force us to win. My attitude, my swagger on the court, I’ve got to let it feed over to the other guys.”
Snaer, a 6-foot-5 guard and Florida State’s leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, had missed the Seminoles’ previous game, a 63-48 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Monday, for disciplinary reasons.
“He didn’t get to play the last game, so he came out with a lot of emotion and focus today,” forward Okaro White said. “He always plays with a lot of emotion, but I thought he was a little more vocal this game. When he gets off to a good start like he did this game, it gets us going and gets us behind him.”
The Seminoles (7-4) trailed 40-35 at halftime but came out strong after the break and took the lead for good at 47-45. They went on to lead by as many as nine but could never put the 49ers away.
Ultimately, it took six free throws in the final minute — including two by Snaer with 11.8 seconds left and one by Aaron Thomas with 3.4 seconds left — for the Seminoles to hold on. Charlotte (11-2) had a chance to tie in the closing seconds, but Ivan Benkovic’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer didn’t fall.
“These are the type of games this team needs at this time of year because of where we are at this stage of our development,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.
“I looked out there and at times we had four freshmen on the floor, and I was a little concerned. But I thought they stepped up, and obviously Michael stepped up tonight and was very focused, and I thought he gave the young guys a lot of confidence. Unfortunately, we need our veteran guys to step up right now while the young guys are growing.”
Florida State also got 17 points from Thomas, including 15 in the second half, and 10 points from White.
The Seminoles held a decided edge at the free-throw line, hitting 26 of 34 to Charlotte’s 11 of 17.Florida State was called for 17 fouls, Charlotte 25.
Chris Braswell led Charlotte with 20 points. DeMario Mayfield scored 16, Terrence Williams 11, and Willie Clayton had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The 49ers suffered their second loss of the season to an Atlantic Coast Conference team. Their other loss came at Miami.
“I thought Florida State came out in the second half and kinda set the tone, and we got away from our blueprint,” Charlotte coach Alan Major said. “So the lesson to these kids in the locker room was, ‘Always be who you are.’
“That’s the one thing I thought, for 10-12 minutes of the second half, we didn’t have a whole lot of defensive traction. But we fought hard and this is a game we can learn from.”
The game was played at Time Warner Cable Arena instead of the on-campus Halton Arena, part of Charlotte’s commitment to play bigger-name nonconference opponents at the home of the Charlotte Bobcats. The attendance was announced at 7,249.
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