GAME NOTES: The Florida State Seminoles look to gain some ground in the ACC standings as they visit PNC Arena for a league bout with the NC State Wolfpack.
Although FSU is just 6-6 in ACC action and 14-11 overall on the campaign, it is one of just three teams in the conference with at least three wins over league rivals on the road. Coach Leonard Hamilton's squad is coming off a hard-fought, 69-66 home win over Boston College. Michael Snaer scored 21 points to lead the way as the Seminoles connected on 51 percent of their field goal tries. Devon Bookert dished out a career-high eight assists in just his second career start to help FSU fend off BC.
Mark Gottfried's Wolfpack survived a scare on Saturday to collect a 90-86 win in overtime from its matchup with Virginia Tech. The victory was the second in a row for NC State, which is 13-1 at home this season. Scott Wood poured in 22 points to pace the team while Richard Howell collected 16 rebounds and Lorenzo Brown dealt out seven assists. The Wolfpack were expected to be a contender for the ACC crown this season after their impressive run in the NCAA Tournament a year ago. They have not disappointed offensively, ranking ninth in the nation in scoring (78.4) on a fifth-best 49.9 percent shooting from the floor, but they are one of the worst defensive teams in the ACC with an allowed average of 73.2 ppg.
The Seminoles' game against the Wolfpack marks the first of two meetings this season between the two teams who were both selected to finish in the top four of the league standings. Florida State and NC State will close out the regular season in Tallahassee on March 9 before both teams head to the ACC Tournament. NC State is 27-21 in history against FSU.
Snaer, who has built a Robert Horry like reputation for big shots at the buzzer, had not netted 20 points in conference action this season before going 8-of-10 from the floor versus the Eagles for FSU. Okaro White chipped in 13 points and eight boards. Outside of Snaer and White, the Seminoles lack a consistent scorer. FSU's interior play has not been up to par this season. Recently, it was outscored, 32-16, in the paint and also 19-1 in second chance points by a weak Wake Forest unit.
NC State will provide a much tougher test in the post than the Demon Deacons with its unbelievable array of forwards. C.J. Leslie's athleticism has helped him produce 15.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per tilt, while Howell contributes a double-double average of 13.2 points and 11 rebounds per game. The Wolfpack were a much different team while Brown was injured, but they are 2-0 since he came back to tally 30 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and three steals over the past two games.
Snaer should be able to match whatever Wood and Brown produce from the backcourt, but FSU is going to have trouble matching the Wolfpack on the glass and in the paint. The Seminoles will need to put on an accurate shooting display if they hope to steal another one on the road.
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