FSU has to win four games in four days. Day one has passed and the Noles are still alive. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't fair. The last two minutes just about broke Twitter. But the Noles are moving on.
In a game that almost got out of hand early, the Noles battled to keep what could have been an ugly deficit to just five in the first half. At the half they were -6 in turnovers, -2 in offensive boards, and Clemson had made 4-6 3s to FSUs 1-4. It could have been ugly (well, to be fair, the game WAS ugly) but poise by Snaer and company kept the game in check.
FSU began executing in the 2nd half, and maintained a slim lead or a tie through a good portion of the 2nd half. Then the Noles got hot and turned a tie game at the under-8 to an 11-point lead at the under-4.
And then things got weird.
And by 'weird', I mean John Waters Hairspray weird. First there was a call on Bookert which, based on my review of the play, wasn't even possible. Then there was the garbage flagrant call, but the refs were just getting started. They backed those up with a foul on Ian Miller on a 3-pt shooter which was clearly a clean block, and then they doubled up on him by calling yet another foul on the inbounds when Miller lept to catch the pass. Meanwhile, Clemson kept taking free possessions and turned an 11-point lead into a 2-point lead.
But the refs, who were clearly (speculation alert!) trying to push the game past midnight so that they would be disqualified from calling the early games tomorrow, forgot that FSU had Michael Snaer. Inbounds at 0:22 seconds and he made both FTs. Inbounds at 0:07 and he made two more.
The end-game shenanigans took away from what was perhaps the most dominant half by an FSU player all year. Okaro White scored 17 points in the 2nd half, and did it in a way that humbled the Tigers. He made a ridiculous 6-foot tip-in while getting fouled. He knocked down a three when they dove off of him in transition. And he routinely caught the ball 18' from the basket and abused Devin Booker off the bounce. It was a stretch-4 performance for the books, and no one will remember it because of the late game nonsense.
The other player of note was Terrance Shannon, who came off the bench to score 12 points. For many of his 19 minutes he could barely get up and down the court, but he still was able to bring that spark that FSU has been missing since he went down.
Devon Bookert had 12 points (off 4 shots!) and 5 rebounds, and Michael Snaer had 10 points and 5 assists.
The Noles now advance to face the No. 3 seed - North Carolina. See you tomorrow. Same time, same place.