Perhaps there was a Thanksgiving-holiday hangover, or maybe the tryptophan was to blame, but for whatever reason the Seminoles weren't at their best Friday afternoon.
In a matchup with Harvard that tallied a total of 87 points combined, the ‘Noles fell to the Crimson 46-41. The two teams were tied 14-14 at the end of the first half. The 28 combined points matched the lowest combined total for a half in a Division-I game since 1986. The only other time it occurred was in a matchup between Mississippi and South Carolina in 2003.
For Florida State, it was its lowest-scoring game in nearly 40 years.
"We got beat by a team that was much hungrier than we were," said coach Leonard Hamilton. "They showed an awful lot of toughness, and they executed their system a lot better than we executed our system."
Defensively, the execution was on point once again. The ‘Noles held Harvard to 12 total field goals and 27-percent shooting. However, the offensive execution was poor at best, and one thing became apparent throughout the course of this offensive struggle: The Seminoles need a scorer to take charge.
Scoring by committee led FSU to five straight victories to begin the season, but those games were against lesser competition and the outcomes were never in question. In games where each possession is vital, someone must become a leader in the scoring department.
That leader needs to be Michael Snaer.
The 6-5 junior has the most scoring ability on this year's squad, and he needs to become more assertive on the offensive end. Snaer finished with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting in Friday's loss. Nine field-goal attempts are far too few in a game where the team desperately needed somebody to provide a spark.
In past games, the Moreno Valley, California, native has been able to feel his way through and take his shot attempts when they seem necessary, but that cannot be the case from this point forward. He must become the scoring threat that everyone expects him to be. If he doesn't, then the ‘Noles may find themselves in similar situations as they did against the Crimson.
Nonetheless, FSU does have other players to turn to in times of need. There is little doubt that there is plenty of talent on this roster. Scoring by committee will provide the Seminoles with several wins this season, but if Florida State wants to surpass last season's success, then a scorer is going to have to take games over when his teammates need him the most.
It only makes sense for that guy to be Snaer.
The guard leads the team in scoring with 13 points per game and is shooting a quality 42 percent from 3-point range. He also leads the team in minutes played at more than 30 per game.
Snaer is one of the veterans on this year's roster and the purest scoring threat that the ‘Noles have in their backcourt.
Still, none of them can threaten a defense the way Snaer can.
"I'm going to be one of the leaders," said Snaer at last month's FSU media day. "At this point, there's not too much leadership we need. We just kind of help each other along and lead each other."
He is right. There are lots of leaders on this team, and they all have the ability to lead in different aspects of the game.
Nonetheless, this is the season Snaer has to become the scoring leader. Not just in the points-per-game department, but down the stretch in close games when FSU needs someone to step up and put the ball in the basket.
Matt Ritter is the basketball reporter for NoleDigest.com and a graduate student in Media Communication Studies at Florida State.
Snaer has to be more aggressive
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