No. 20 Florida St. 48, Virginia Tech 47

A night Florida State’s Michael Snaer wanted to forget turned

out to be one he’ll always remember.

Snaer’s 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left boosted No. 20 Florida

State to a 48-47 victory over Virginia Tech on Thursday night,

capping an improbable finish that kept the Seminoles in a

first-place tie in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

”Mike is very confident in his ability to knock the shot down

because he’s a gym rat,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said

of Snaer whose 3-pointer at the buzzer beat Duke last month. ”He’s

in the gym so much knocking those shots down that he has

confidence. It doesn’t bother him that he’s missed several.”

Good thing.

Until he let the game-winner go, Snaer had been having a

miserable game. He picked up an early technical for mouthing off to

an official and managed only six points. He hadn’t come close on

three earlier 3-point attempts.

Florida State (18-7, 9-2) trailed 45-37 with 1:29 left in the

game, but Virginia Tech missed 5 of 6 free throw attempts over the

final 1:09 to leave the door open for Snaer’s heroics from the

right side of the court.

”The basketball gods just smiled on us in this one,” Hamilton

said. ”You’ve got to go and take games. People are not going to

give them to you.”

Snaer, who had made only 3 of his 10 previous shots, hit the

game-winner from nearly the identical spot he produced similar

heroics in Florida State’s 76-73 win at Duke on Jan. 21. Ian

Miller’s 3 from the corner with 44 seconds left got the Seminoles

within 47-45.

”You don’t have time to think about where your sweet spot is,”

Snaer said. ”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.”

Virginia Tech (14-12, 3-8) had a chance to take a two-possession

lead when Jarell Eddie was fouled grabbing an offensive rebound

with 10.2 seconds left. But he began to cramp up. Robert Brown was

selected to take the free throws and missed both.

”In the end it had nothing to do with made field goals,”

Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. ”It’s real simple, you

step up and make free throws and the game is over. You don’t have

to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.”

Erick Green led Virginia Tech with 18 points and was nearly

fouled as he launched a last-second desperation shot that bounced

off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

”We got the look we could get with 2 seconds left,” Greenberg

said. ”John Wooden couldn’t have drawn up a play with no timeouts.

You try to get the ball up the floor.”

Green scored seven points that keyed a 17-0 Virginia Tech run to

start the second half and the Hokies had a 40-25 lead with 14:09

left on Brown’s only field goal in the game.

Miller led Florida State with 11 points and Snaer had nine to

help the Seminoles, who have won nine of 10 and are tied for first

in the ACC with North Carolina and Duke.

Florida State shot 40 percent from the field.

The Hokies shot just 32.7 percent in the game and were beaten

41-31 on the boards.

The Seminoles, who led 25-23 at halftime, are 17-0 this season

when leading at the break and 6-0 at home in the conference where

they have won 13 of their last 14 games dating to last season.