Early on what looked to be the start of a runaway turned into a tougher than expected fight as Florida State held off the North Florida Ospreys 75-67.
Led by Michael Snaer's 21 points, 18 of them in the second half, the senior guard showed his leadership in taking control of a struggling Seminole offense and was responsible for turning back several charges by the Ospreys.
The 'Noles led the entire game and raced out to a 16-3 lead with just over five and half minutes gone in the game with almost all of the scoring occurring at point blank range.
The aggressive quick paced offense forced UNF head coach Matt Driscoll to burn two of his timeouts to regroup his team.
The adjustments paid off, notably the double teaming of the ball. The result was nine consecutive possessions by the Seminoles with 7 turnovers and 2 missed field goals. The miscues allowed North Florida to work some of their transition game. A fast break layup by Will Wilson closed the gap to 16-11 at the 9:39 mark.
FSU looked poised to take control of the game again moving out to a 24-13 margin after a jump hook shot by Keil Turpin.
But the 'Noles were just slightly out of sync helped in part by Ian Miller who did not play due to a bone bruise to his right foot suffered in a shoot around on Tuesday. The walking boot was just a precautionary measure.
FSU could not shake the Ospreys in the remaining 4:05 but held a 32-24 half time lead.
The Seminoles managed to build a ten point lead , 38-28, two minutes into the final period on a slam dunk plus the foul by Okaro White assisted by Snaer. It was quickly cut in half by a three pointer in transition and two of three free throws by Parker Smith (20 pts).
A jumper from the free throw line by Smith closed it to 41-37 only to be answered with a three from the wing by Snaer. Smith answered back with a jumper from the right elbow only to see Snaer hit his second three pointer again from the left wing.
Florida State again looked like they would finally put some separation between them and the visitors from Jacksonville when Turpin's put back of Montay Brandon's missed fastbreak layup gave FSU a 60-46 lead with 9:30 left in the game.
However, while the the threes were not dropping for the 'Noles, just 2 of 11 both by Snaer, the bombs were falling for UNF. Smith's three ball off a Brandon turnover made it an uncomfortable 68-63 FSU lead with 2:04 remaining.
The Ospreys were unable to mount any offense though and following a turnover, losing the ball out of bounds, they were forced to foul the rest of the way hoping the 'Noles would miss their free throws. They didn't, connecting on 7 of 8 to finish out the game. Snaer was key sinking all four of his attempts.
White was a critical factor in holding off UNF, scoring 11 of his 15 points in the final period and added 9 rebounds as well.
Shannon finished with 12 points.
What started out as a hot shooting FSU team began to cool after jumping out to a big lead, eventually ending with a respectable 46% from the floor. The 34 points in the paint and 18 points off 15 UNF turnovers helped offset the lack of outside shooting.
Although there were some breakdowns defensively that were certain not to please Leonard Hamilton, the defense did hold UNF to just 38% from the floor.
So Florida State avoided another South Alabama embarrassment and improves to 4-1 on the season. The team gets a six day break from competition and will take the floor again on Tuesday night, hosting Minnesota as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Tip off is set for 7:15 and will be shown on ESPN2.
Miller is expected to be available for that game according to Hamilton.