March 7, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State’s Michael Snaer did it again.
Snaer’s left-handed runner in heavy traffic with 4 seconds left Thursday lifted the Seminoles to a 53-51 win over Virginia after the Cavaliers had fought back from an 11-point deficit to take the lead in the game’s final seconds. It was the fourth game-winning shot by Snaer in Atlantic Coast Conference play this season and his sixth over the past two years.
Akil Mitchell led Virginia (20-10, 10-7) with 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, but missed a layup with 21 seconds left with the Cavaliers leading 51-50.
Florida State’s Devon Bookert grabbed the rebound and Florida State called a timeout with 12 seconds left to set up the latest round of Snaer heroics.
Joe Harris, whose two free throws gave Virginia the lead with 1:28 left, threw up a desperation heave from 3-point distance as the final buzzer sounded after the Cavaliers had trouble bringing the ball upcourt. Harris finished with 13 points. Freshman Mike Tobey had 10 of his 12 points at the half for Virginia, which shot just 38.6 percent (22 of 57), but made all five of its free throws.
Virginia, which has lost four of its last six games, trailed 47-36 before Justin Anderson’s dunk ignited a 15-3 run with 6:01 remaining.
Both teams came into the game needing a win, albeit for different reasons.
The defeat leaves the Cavaliers(20-10, 10-7) scrambling for a postseason NCAA bid and opening-round bye in next week’s ACC tournament while Florida State (16-14, 8-9 ACC) assured itself of an eighth consecutive winning regular season with the victory.
After starting the league season with road victories at Clemson and Maryland, Florida State went just 5-9 and three of those wins came on Snaer’s buzzer-beating baskets.
Florida State’s only ACC wins since January going into the game came over Georgia Tech, Boston College and Wake Forest — all teams languishing in the bottom half of the ACC standings along with the Seminoles.
The win over Virginia was Florida State’s first over a team with a winning record in the ACC and avenged a 56-36 loss in Charlottesville, Va. In mid-January when the Seminoles managed 16 points in the first half.
It was the game when Seminole forward Terrance Shannon suffered a neck injury that kept him sidelined for a dozen games. The 6-8 junior returned just last week after being cleared by doctors. Although he played briefly last weekend at North Carolina, Shannon didn’t see action against the Cavaliers.
Florida State went ahead for the first time Thursday with 7:17 left in the opening half on a tip-in by White, who was fouled and added the free throw for a 14-12 Seminole lead. White scored 11 of Florida State’s last 15 points of the first half.
Both teams close out their regular seasons Sunday at home. Virginia hosts longtime rival Maryland while Florida State wraps up its regular season Saturday against North Carolina State.