ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech did a respectable job defensively on FSU standout Michael Snaer all night, but the senior responded when the game was on the line.
Snaer took the ball with 19:6 seconds remaining after a timeout, got away with a push against Tech’s Mfon Udofia and drove the lane as time ran out. Snaer dropped it in at the buzzer – a play that was reviewed and approved by the officials – to give FSU a 56-54 win over the Yellow Jackets at McCamish Pavilion.
Snaer scored 15 points to lead FSU (13-9, 5-4) to its eighth straight win over Georgia Tech (12-9, 2-7). It was Snaer’s third game-winning buzzer-beating shot of the season.
“We can’t let him have that shot,” said Tech coach Brian Gregory. “He made all the plays down the stretch for them.”
It was a frustrating night all around for Georgia Tech, which shot only 38 percent from the floor, made only 9-of-15 free throws and was outrebounded 30-24. Tech did not have a scorer in double figures; Brandon Reed and Daniel Miller led the Jackets with nine points.
Tech led by five points at 31-26 and seemed to have the momentum on its side. That’s when FSU began finding the slender 7-foot-3 Slovakian Boris Bojanosky under the basket on a pick-and-roll, where he scored three times – twice on slams – to help tie the game at 38-38 at 12:08.
FSU, urged on by a hardy contingent of fans who aggravated the locals with the Seminoles’ war chant, kept it going and eventually built a five-point with 3:57 remaining. Tech drew to within a point and missed a chance to take the lead when Chris Bolden’s 3-point rattled the rim and missed. The Jackets finally evened things at 54-54 with 1:03 on a trey by Mfon Udofia.
“We lacked discipline on defense at the end of the game and gave them some easy points,” Gregory said. Florida State called timeout but proceeded to turn it over on an unforced error, a bad pass, that went out of bounds with 41.9 seconds left. Tech then called time and Udofia missed a quick 3-pointer that FSU’s Kiel Turpin snared to set up the final sequence for Snaer.
“As good as we were on defense on Sunday, we were bad tonight,” Gregory said. “That’s some of the ebbs and flows you go through with a young team.”
On Tuesday the youngsters didn’t answer the bell. Georges-Hunt scored eight points, but made only 1-of-5 from the line, including a hat-trick with 4:50 left. Robert Carter Jr. scored only four points on 2-of-9 shooting and Chris Bolden was 2-for-7 and score six.
“The freshmen need to grow up,” Gregory said. “We’re counting on them at the end and we need them to deliver. That’s not always fair, but that’s just the way it is.”
Georgia Tech got off to its slowest start of the season and trailed 13-0 before finally scoring on a nice drive by Marcus Georges-Hunt. The Yellow Jackets seemed out of synch and seemed to just be missing rebounds that were snared by the long-armed FSU defenders.
That’s when Tech grabbed control again. A 3-pointer by Mfon Udofia and a basket by Daniel Miller drew the Jackets within a pair and Chris Bolton tied the game at 22-22 with 3:29 on a pair of free throws. The Jackets finally took their first lead of the half at the buzzer when Miller threw down his second slam of the period after a nice feed from Udofia.
Tech showed its determination with the comeback, which occurred despite shooting only 40 percent (10-for-25) and being outrebounded 17-11. Brandon Reed scored nine points in the half on three 3-pointers, the most he’s scored in an ACC game this season.
Tech returns to action on Saturday against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The Yellow Jackets lost 70-65 in overtime to the Hokies on Jan. 12.