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Snaer Comes Out Aggressive, Seminoles Get Big Win

Michael Snaer and the Florida State offense came out in attack mode against the Maine Black Bears and the difference was obvious as the Seminoles exploded for a 91-59 victory. After attempting only 3 shots in 16 minutes of first half play against the UF, Snaer drilled two threes in the first 2 minutes and 10 seconds of the game, giving FSU a 6-2 lead and the Noles never looked back.

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Florida State did not shoot particularly well, going just 32-73 from the field (though the Noles did make 11-24 from three), but the entire team looked like a cohesive unit on offense for the first time since beating BYU and St. Joes in back-to-back nights a nearly a month ago. Devon Bookert, in particular, did an excellent job of pushing the tempo and finding open teammates—he finished with 5 assists and only 2 turnovers—but honestly it was a total team effort. The guys looked to be playing much more instinctively from the opening tip, trusting their teammates to be in the right position and making quick, aggressive decisions with the basketball.

After the game, Coach Hamilton talked about the improved flow on offense. “This team performs better when we are creating for each other,” said Ham. “Offensively I thought we made the extra pass for the majority of the game.”

The extra passes netted the team 16 assists—by far the most since leaving Brooklyn. However, it was the lack of turnovers—a stunningly efficient 10% turnover rate for the game, including only one turnover in the second half—that really had the media room buzzing after the game.

“We were not making difficult passes…guys were in the right spots, opening up the passing lanes,” Hamilton responded to one of several questions about the lack of turnovers. “Guys were setting screens better, guys were using screens better…we are improving and learning how to play with the system we have.”

That system is one that doesn’t have as many set plays, instead relying on the five guys on the floor to play within a set of rules while constantly adjusting based on how the defense is reacting. It not only requires individual players to correctly read the defense, but to trust their teammate to have seen the same thing. On Sunday, for the first time in a while, it looked like the trust was building.

“Today, I thought we showed signs of adjusting…that we were all on the same page,” commented Coach Hamilton.

Back to Snaer and his newfound aggressiveness, his comments post-game make it sound like he plans to continue attacking in the upcoming games.

“For me it was about being the player that I am…just go out there and play free, play loose, and just play my game,” said Snaer. When asked about coming out aggressive in both halves, Snaer stated that was something he specifically focused on coming into the game. “It was a rough shooting night for me, but I mean, I gotta come out that way every night. Come out aggressive.” Snaer further stated that “At some point I have to stop playing tentative…and just play with some guts…I turn the ball over and miss shots when I worry about it…when I play aggressive [the game] is much easier.”

The Snaer on the court Sunday is the Michael Snaer that I think many Nole fans were expecting to see from the start of the season. A confident, aggressive player who gets to the free throw line and open things up for his teammates not by being passive and passing the ball around the perimeter, but instead by forcing the other team to worry about where he is at all times and at times devoting an extra defender to stop him. And for the first time all season, I saw a familiar look in Snaer’s eyes; the look that made him bold enough to predict—and deliver—an ACC Championship last season.

FSU has a week off for finals before returning to the court against Louisiana-Monroe Monday, December 17th. Hopefully the aggressive Michael Snaer returns as well.

Other Injury and Player Notes:

Coach Hamilton stated that Kiel Turpin’s nose lost a battle with Michael Ojo’s arm and he broke it Saturday in practice. They weren’t sure if he would play, but the big guy logged 17 minutes.

Speaking of Ojo, Hamilton had this to say about him after the game: “Ojo is team’s best rebounder in practice, [we’re] trying to get him more integrated into the games.”

“Don’t expect Ian Miller to be back before Christmas, maybe first of New Year.” –Coach Ham.

“Terrence had a stinger (later also described some back spasm symptoms). Might miss another game might not.” –Coach Ham.

Coach Hamilton also talked quite a bit about Devon Bookert. He revealed that Devon’s knee was infected at one point and due to the nature of where the scab is located, it’s going to something he deals with for “a long time.” However, perhaps more interesting were his comments about the coaches trying to get Devon to become more vocal. Hamilton stated that Bookert often barely speaks above a whisper and that they are working with him to become a better communicator on defense, as well as more vocal in getting us into and out of our sets on offense.

Coach Hamilton also said he was purposefully trying to get Snaer some minutes at PG late in the game in case anyone else is forced to miss some time with injury.