Not satisfied with his shooting performance Friday night, Michael Snaer spent extra time on the floor shooting baskets following the season opening loss to South Alabama. The additional work paid off Monday night as Snaer's 19 points, that included 4 three pointers, led Florida State to a 95-68 victory over the Buffalo Bulls to notch its first win of the season.
In fact the entire Seminole team found its offense in connecting on 60% of its shots, 10-16 from behind the arc.
Attribute that in part to a player-called walk through of the offense over the weekend.
An additional aspect was a lineup change Leonard Hamilton made, inserting Montay Brandon into the starting PG spot in place of Ian Miller. Miller really didn't see any time at that position with Devon Bookert finally able to see significant P.T. (18 minutes). The freshmen duo did not rack up many assists (2), but they didn't give the ball over either with just two turnovers.
With the exception of a few cold spots that did not use much clock time, FSU's offense functioned well in the half court while utilizing the transition game often from one of the 12 team steals. The Bulls did not throw many defensive wrinkles at the 'Noles but coaches and fans appreciated the improved execution.
It was balanced offense with three pointers combining with the 38 points in the paint garnered by the Seminoles.
Now for the bad news.
The defense was not up to its usual standard. Known for keeping teams under 50% from the floor, Buffalo shot exactly 50%, a real rarity for a Hamilton team, connecting on 56% in the second half.
"Our rotations are not there," Hamilton commented. "Our problems lie in making defensive reads."
"We have so much to learn. Believe me, we have a long way to go."
Hamilton was referring to numerous wide open three point attempts -- and even more of a sin in Hamilton's defensive playbook was the open lanes you could drive a truck down. Credit the aggressive style of Buffalo, but it resulted in 38 points from in the lane, something that will always annoy the head coach.
FSU did force Buffalo into 25 turnovers, however.
FSU never trailed and there was just one tie, 2-2, with the 'Noles building as much as a 21 point lead in the first half, 42-21, with 4:50 left in the period.
Leading 47-30 to start the second period, Buffalo closed the gap to just eleven points, 50-39, before FSU rattled off eight quick points. Terrance Shannon put back a Boris Bojanovsky missed hook shot followed by back to back threes by Snaer, one from each side of the court.
The Bulls however closed it to eight points, 64-56, after two free throws by Xavier Ford with 10:35 remaining in the game.
Florida State proceeded to rattle off a 19-7 run to take control of the game for good, leading 83-63 with just under five minutes left. The run was finished off with a 60 foot pass from Snaer in stride to Shannon just at the foul line, good for the slam dunk.
Later Shannon assisted on another highlight when he made the steal and launched to the other end of the floor to Okaro White for the lay in.
Joey Moreau ended the game in style when he received a pass from Aaron Thomas (who had a highlight or two of his own) all alone in the right corner and swished it two seconds before the buzzer sounded to end the game.
White finished with 13 points and Thomas added 10 as the only other Seminoles in double figures.
Javon McCree and Tony Watson each had 17 for the Bulls, Watson off 5 of 7 three pointers, and Ford added 16.
While the 17 turnovers were a problem for the "Noles, the improved execution offensively was reflected in the 17 assists dished out.
And Hamilton was upbeat afterwards.
"I thought our team played with a tremendous amount of energy tonight," Coach Hamilton said. "I loved our body language."
Florida State evens its record to 1-1 and will head to New York City to take on BYU Friday evening as part of the Coaches Against Cancer tournament. Tip off is set for 7 PM.