TALLAHASSEE — Florida State had turned a 67-60 deficit against No. 13 North Carolina into a 70-69 lead with 18.2 seconds left Wednesday. Fans at the Donald L. Tucker Center were raucous.
Then an 18-year-old freshman silenced them.
Harrison Barnes made a 3-pointer from the top of the key with three seconds left that gave the Tar Heels a 72-70 win over the Seminoles.
"Great players make great plays," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "That's about as good as it gets."
But it wasn't anything unusual for Barnes, who has made the winning or go-ahead shot in five games this season.
"I've always been comfortable taking the last-second shot," he said.
"I'm glad Coach (Roy Williams) gave me the opportunity and I came through."
Barnes was supposed to drive to the basket but decided to pull the trigger from long range after he briefly surveyed the defense.
"They had three guys high, so I knew it was going to be a jump shot because it would be hard to get to the rack," he said.
"You can't really second-guess yourself. You have to go with the first instinct."
FSU's Derwin Kitchen said he and his teammates knew what was coming after North Carolina called timeout with 11 seconds left.
"They were going to give it to Barnes and let him make a play," he said. "I kind of figured he was going to shoot a jump shot."
"Mike Snaer had a hand in his face and everything," Kitchen said. "He made a huge shot for his team. You really can't do anything about that."
Snaer blamed himself.
"I just gave him too much breathing room," he said.
Sophomore John Henson, a graduate of Tampa's Sickles High, had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Barnes scored 18 for the Tar Heels (23-6, 13-2 ACC), who won their sixth straight overall and fifth in a row in Tallahassee.
The Tar Heels can clinch the top seed in next week's ACC tournament win a win over No. 4 Duke on Saturday.
FSU, which came one game shy of finishing a perfect ACC season at home for the first time since coming into the conference for the 1991-92 season, completes its regular season Sunday at North Carolina State.
The Seminoles (20-9, 10-5), playing their fourth game without star forward Chris Singleton (broken foot), played one of their most competitive games of the season. The lead changed 14 times; the score was tied 11 times.
At the least, they walked off the court hoping they had won some respect.
"I hope people understand how good we actually are because I don't think people understand that," Snaer said. "That when we come to play, we're a very, very, very good team."
Information from the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.