TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With few exceptions, Florida State hasn’t done anything the easy way this season and the last game of the regular season was no different.
The 22nd-ranked Seminoles were on the verge of blowing a 16-point second-half lead in the final seconds of Sunday’s game against Clemson and coach Leonard Hamilton was uncharacteristically stomping his foot in disgust and scolding his players.
“We have found a way to win regardless of our strengths and weaknesses,” a relieved Hamilton said after his team repelled a late charge with some clutch free throw shooting for an 80-72 victory. “We were able to regroup, hit our free throws and make some plays at the end.”
You could hardly blame Hamilton for being as animated as he was considering the wild season he’s been through. The Seminoles lost to Princeton in triple-overtime and at Boston College and won at No. 4 Duke and hammered No. 6 North Carolina by 33 points.
Three Florida State wins came as time ran out on desperation 3-pointers, two by Michael Snaer.
And while it was the final home game for six Seminole seniors, Snaer, a junior, led the way with a career-high 23 points, although three seniors finished in double figures.
“We dodged a bullet today,” said Snaer, who was perfect in four tries from 3-point range in the first half when Florida State shot 64 percent, including 8 of 11 on 3s, in building a 49-33 lead.
The Seminoles (21-9, 12-4) finished third in the ACC behind North Carolina and Duke and have a first-round bye in the league tournament that begins Thursday.
“We just couldn’t guard them in the first half,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said.
“When they shoot the ball like they did tonight, they are very hard to beat.”
The Seminoles were 11 of 19 from 3-point range.
K.J. McDaniels and Andre Young scored 16 points each and Devin Booker had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Clemson (16-14, 8-8), which had won five of six.