CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michael Snaer is a senior on an otherwise freshman-laden Florida State team, and he takes the responsibility that brings seriously.
Snaer rose to the occasion Saturday, scoring a career-high 30 as the Seminoles held on to beat Charlotte 79-76. He hit five 3-pointers and made 9 of 10 free throws as the Seminoles rallied after trailing by five at halftime.
"I've said it before. I don't care what I have to do, if I have to drag this team kicking and screaming, I can't afford to let us lose any more games," Snaer said. "I know I'm going to have to put the ball up. I know I'm going to have to force us to win. My attitude, my swagger on the court, I've got to let it feed over to the other guys."
Snaer, a 6-foot-5 guard and FSU's leader with an average 14.2 points per game, had missed the previous game, a 63-48 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Monday, for disciplinary reasons.
"He didn't get to play the last game, so he came out with a lot of emotion and focus," said forward Okaro White, a former Clearwater High standout, who had 10 points, five rebounds and three blocks. "He always plays with a lot of emotion, but I thought he was a little more vocal this game. When he gets off to a good start like he did this game, it gets us going and gets us behind him."
The Seminoles (7-4) trailed 40-35 at halftime but came out strong after the break and took the lead for good at 47-45. They led by as many as nine but could never put the 49ers away.
Ultimately, it took six free throws in the final minute — including two by Snaer with 11.8 seconds left and one by Aaron Thomas with 3.4 seconds left — for the Seminoles to hold on. Charlotte (11-2) had a chance to tie in the closing seconds, but Ivan Benkovic's 3-point attempt at the buzzer didn't fall.
"These are the type of games this team needs at this time of year because of where we are at this stage of our development," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.
"I looked out there and at times we had four freshmen on the floor, and I was a little concerned. But I thought they stepped up, and obviously Michael stepped up and was very focused, and I thought he gave the young guys a lot of confidence. Unfortunately, we need our veteran guys to step up right now while the young guys are growing."
Thomas had 17 points, 15 in the second half.
The Seminoles held a decided edge at the line, hitting 26-of-34 to Charlotte's 11-of-17.
Chris Braswell led Charlotte with 20 points, and DeMario Mayfield scored 16.
The 49ers suffered their second loss of the season to an ACC team. The other came at Miami.
"I thought Florida State came out in the second half and kind of set the tone, and we got away from our blueprint," Charlotte coach Alan Major said. "So the lesson to these kids in the locker room was, 'Always be who you are.' "