Florida St.-NC State Preview

Updated: February 18, 2012, 12:14 AM ET
Associated Press

After coming through with another game-winning 3, it's safe to say Florida State's Michael Snaer has a flair for the dramatic.

While coach Leonard Hamilton was obviously pleased with his team's latest result, he knows the Seminoles need to step it up going forward.

Hoping to keep pace atop the ACC standings, No. 20 Florida State tries for a fifth win in six road meetings with North Carolina State on Saturday.

Snaer first garnered national attention after snapping then-No. 4 Duke's 45-game home winning streak with a 3-pointer as time expired, giving the Seminoles (18-7, 9-2) a 76-73 win Jan. 21.

The junior guard, averaging a team-best 13.6 points, stepped up again, hitting a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left in Thursday's 48-47 win over Virginia Tech.

"You don't have time to think about where your sweet spot is," said Snaer, who finished with nine points on 4-of-11 shooting. "You've just go to put it up. When you've done it before it's not hard to believe you can do it again."

Florida State rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final 1:29 to avoid a devastating defeat.

"The basketball gods just smiled on us in this one. You've got to go and take games. People are not going to give them to you," Hamilton said. "When you're going through a season, you have games like this. Hopefully this will be a wakeup call without a loss."

The Seminoles, along with No. 5 Duke and No. 8 North Carolina, are in a three-way tie for first place in the conference. Fourth-place North Carolina State (18-8, 7-4) isn't far behind.

The Wolfpack, though, let a terrific opportunity to gain some ground and notch a marquee victory for their NCAA tournament chances slip away Thursday. Coach Mark Gottfried's team led by 20 points with 11:33 remaining at Cameron Indoor Stadium before ultimately suffering a 78-73 defeat to the Blue Devils.

"You put in a whole week of work preparing for these guys and go up 16 at halftime and give it up, it's tough to swallow," said reserve Alex Johnson, who scored a season-high 13 points. "But Coach said it in the huddle. We've just got to let this one go and get ready for Saturday."

Things won't get any easier against Florida State, which has enjoyed plenty of success in Raleigh of late.

The Seminoles have taken four of five at the RBC Center, winning three in a row by an average of 11.0 points. The Wolfpack haven't defeated Florida State at home since an 86-64 win Feb. 15, 2006.

North Carolina State has gone 0-5 against Top 25 teams this season, making a statement win before the ACC tournament all the more urgent.

"We're a good team. We've got to find a way to become a little bit better," Gottfried said.

All five North Carolina State starters are averaging double figures in points. Junior Scott Wood leads the team with 13.2 per game.

Wood scored a career-high 31 during an 88-81 road win over then-No. 25 Florida State on Jan. 12, 2010.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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