Recap: FSU vs. Duke ACC Semifinals


In mid January Michael Snaer said his team was going to win the ACC Championship.  With his 16 points and 7-12 shooting performance against Duke in the ACC semifinal game the FSU guard has led his team to a chance to fulfill this prediction.  Florida State started off fast against the Duke Blue Devils and led by as much as seven points in the first.  In patented Duke fashion the Blue Devils roared back to only be down two heading into half time.

The Duke Blue Devil’s identity has been one of two this 2011-2012 college basketball season.  In games where they win or play very well they shoot a high percentage of three pointers and sprinkled in with some fast break points to the Plumlee brothers.  The exact opposite occurred in games the Blue Devils lost. Their motto has been live by the three die by the three.  Even Coach K mentioned this in his press conference after the UNC game last weekend.  They know who they are and what they need to do to win basketball games.

Florida State plays as tenacious of defense as any team I have seen in the country.  When they are even remotely proficient on offense they can play with anyone in the country.  Just ask UNC about the game in January.

The ACC semifinal was a story where Duke shot just bad enough, and FSU made enough plays to make this game just as close as the first semifinal game.  The blue Devils fired up 20 three point shots and made only five of them. As much as I have criticized the Plumlee brother’s offensive skill set, the Blue devils could have went inside a few more times as Miles and Mason collectively shot 50% from the floor where the rest of the team shot just 34%.  Florida State did not shoot much higher as they were 27% behind the arc, but did shoot 42% from the floor as a team.

Both teams battle throughout the second half and the game’s turning point for FSU.   On a play where Okaro White was also called for a block, Austin River’s made a lay-up and finished the three point play with a free throw to put Duke up 57-55.  The next possession may go down in FSU basketball lore forever. Michael Snaer received a pass at the top of the key paused, stepped behind the line and fired a three that put FSU back on top 58-57 with 3:28 to go.  The next three minutes belong to Luke Loucks .  Loucks made a couple of free throws and with :43 seconds to Duke’s Austin Rivers cut the lead to one with a lay up.  Florida State decided to run the shot clock with less than 10 seconds to go to try and get off a decent shot, but at the same time limit the amount of time Duke would have in the final possession.  With only a few seconds on the shot clock Loucks stepped up and knocked down a long two to put FSU up three with eleven seconds to go.  Duke was forced into a terrible shot by Rivers and Florida state avanced to the Championship Game.

The win for FSU sets up a rematch with North Carolina.  These two teams only matched up once during the regular season. Tar Heel fans remember well what happened that afternoon in Tallahassee, but the ACC championship is a completely different environment with high stakes.  One thing is more certain Coach Williams and his team will see it through the end.

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