FSU Picks Up Where It Left Off In ACC Play

Florida State opened Atlantic Coast Conference play on Saturday with a 71-66 victory at Clemson. Okaro White led the way for the Seminoles scoring 15-points and secured the win with a pivotal steal with just 17 seconds remaining.

The Seminoles got off to a hot start in the game building a 24-8 lead in the first ten minutes, on 9-of-14 shooting. White was a big contributor early on scoring nine points on three three-pointers during that stretch.

But the Seminoles still lack the consistency on defense that is typical of Leonard Hamilton's teams. Despite enjoying a thirteen point lead at the half, and a sixteen point lead in the second half, the Seminoles allowed Clemson to climb back in the game and make it a one possession game with less than a minute remaining.

That's when White read the inbounds play, stole the ball, and was fouled. He then made both free throws securing the win for the Seminoles.

As bad as the Seminoles have looked at times this season, and after losing on the road at Auburn on Wednesday, this win showed signs of growth to head coach Leonard Hamilton.

"It has been very difficult to come in here and play with the emotion I thought our kids played with today," Hamilton said. "It's been kind of an elusive mindset with our players. You can say it's because they're young and learning, but instead of looking like a team of seven first-year players, I thought we looked like a team. I was very proud of the effort they gave."

Despite not scoring in the first half, the ACC's third leading scorer, Michael Snaer, scored eight points in the second half. Although Snaer didn't quite have the numbers that Seminoles fans are accustomed to seeing from him, Hamilton praised Snaer for leading the team in other ways.

"Michael Snaer took just one shot in the first half and that says a lot about him," said Hamilton. "He was giving us tremendous leadership. It wasn't about him individually. It was about us as a team, and I think that says a lot about his unselfish spirit, just wanting to lead a team that's been kind of up-and-down and inconsistent to victory. This was probably his best game and he didn't score in double figures."

Devon Booker led the way for the Tigers taking advantage of the Seminoles weakness in the frontcourt. Booker finished with a double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Booker's numbers didn't keep Hamilton from praising his guys effort on him though.

"We played our fannies off on Booker," said Hamilton. "Believe me, I was proud of the defensive effort that we gave. That just shows what kind of character he has and what kind of player he is. They do such a good job getting him the ball in spots where he can be effective. He's just a world-class guy."

Ian Miller finished with seven points in his first return to the court after battling a foot injury for the past few weeks.

Terry Whisnant and Terrance Shannon both scored 11 points each. Shannon was the Seminoles leading rebounder snatching up eight boards for the ‘Noles.

The Seminoles got off to a good start in conference play, but the road will only get tougher. On Wednesday the ‘Noles travel to play Maryland. The game will be aired on ESPN3.

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