NASHVILLE — In 98 games at Florida State, Friday's was a first for junior guard Michael Snaer, who failed to score in the Seminoles' NCAA Tournament win against St. Bonaventure. And FSU's leading scorer was unfazed by that, so long as his zero came in a victory.
"I don't know much you really have to bounce back from in a win," Snaer said Saturday as the third-seeded Seminoles prepared for tonight's third-round matchup with sixth-seeded Cincinnati at Bridgestone Arena. "We played some good basketball (Friday), we won the game, so I'm just excited we won."
Snaer, a 6-foot-5 guard from Moreno Valley, Calif., averages 14.1 points for FSU and hadn't scored fewer than four since he had two twice during his freshman year. He picked up two fouls in the opening three minutes Friday and spent most of the first half on the bench, not taking a single shot before halftime. In the second, he missed all seven of his attempts, but FSU coach Leonard Hamilton cited his defensive presence and his four rebounds rather than focus on his lack of scoring.
"We've had several games where Michael didn't score in double figures and we won. It's not like this is anything unusual," Hamilton said. "He's been on such a good run here lately that maybe it's highlighted a little bit. I have very little concern about him bouncing back and getting going."
Snaer had averaged 18 points in FSU's three wins in the ACC tournament, where he was named most outstanding player, but FSU has found success whether his shot is on or not. The Seminoles are 5-2 when he scores nine or fewer, 20-7 when he scores 10 or more, a testament to the depth of scoring options FSU has to balance out nights when Snaer's shots aren't falling.
"I think we were able to pull the game out because of the quality of our depth. That's been big for us all year long," Hamilton said. "One reason why we've been able to develop that type of rotation is because of the unselfish spirit of our players."
Bernard James, who led FSU with 19 points against the Bonnies, said balanced scoring is something that makes the Seminoles that much harder to defend because opponents don't know which players they should focus on containing most.
"Teams have to pick their poison," James said. "We have about eight guys on our team that can go out and give you 20 points on any given night. It just depends on how the defense plays, what type of game we're playing. We're a really versatile team and it's definitely helped us get to where we are right now."
And Friday, even without its leading scorer hitting shots, FSU found a way to rally for the lead in the final six minutes against St. Bonaventure and survive and advance to today's third round.
"We continued to play tough," Snaer said. "We've been in situations like that before when we're down. We know what it looks like when teams are about to fold on us. We just attacked."