TALLAHASSEE — Florida State might not repeat as ACC tournament champion this week, but it served notice Saturday that it intends to have something to say about it.
Freshman Devon Bookert scored a career-high 18 and Michael Snaer added 17 as the Seminoles fought back from an eight-point second-half deficit to defeat North Carolina State 71-67 in the regular-season finale for both teams. FSU's eighth conference win by five points or fewer came less than 48 hours after Virginia fell 53-51 in Tallahassee.
"What we see is some youngsters growing up in front of our eyes," said FSU coach Leonard Hamilton, who has weaved a handful of freshmen and two junior college transfers into his lineup after losing six seniors off last year's team. "We are hoping that this will give us some confidence as we prepare for the ACC tournament."
Bookert's two free throws gave the Seminoles (17-14, 9-9 ACC) their first lead of the second half, 57-55. The 6-foot-1 freshman from Anchorage added a jumper with 2:01 left to snap a tie at 62. He added three free throws in the final 1:23 of a see-saw game that featured nine lead changes and nine ties. Bookert scored 10 in the final 5:09.
"He knew we needed to have some baskets," Hamilton said. "He really came through."
Snaer broke away and caught a length-of-the-court pass from Clearwater High's Okaro White for an uncontested dunk that gave FSU a 67-63 lead with 32 seconds left.
"As soon as I took off, I knew the guy behind me wasn't going to catch me," Snaer said. "Once I saw it, I knew he was going to throw it."
Scott Wood's 18 points led the Wolfpack (22-9, 11-7).