Snaer scores 18, No. 23 FSU routs Wake, 75-52
By JOEDY McCREARY
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Leonard Hamilton wanted No. 23 Florida State to pound the ball to its big men - and that was before he knew Wake Forest's top shot-blocker was lost to injury.
Once they did, the Seminoles had little trouble remaining perfect against the Tobacco Road schools and staying on top of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Florida State pulled away in the second half to rout Wake Forest 75-52 on Wednesday night behind 18 points from Michael Snaer and a determined effort to put the ball in the hands of its post players.
That task became much less daunting once the Seminoles found out the Demon Deacons had lost 7-foot center Ty Walker to a concussion.
"Our intentions were to go inside and try to attack inside," Hamilton said. "(Walker) not being there made it a little more convenient for us."
Okaro White added 11 points, Xavier Gibson had 10 and Snaer hit four 3-pointers to help the Seminoles (14-6, 5-1) win their fifth straight ACC game, their longest winning streak in league play in two years.
The ACC co-leaders shot nearly 51 percent - 68 percent in the second half - and outscored Wake Forest 40-16 in the paint. They broke the game open with an 18-2 run shortly after halftime.
"We just kind of tried to slow it down, get the ball inside, get points in the paint, take it to the free-throw line," Gibson said. "We took a lot of jump shots in the beginning of the game, and we wanted to just get it inside and be more physical. We knew they were lacking inside from foul trouble and injuries, so we just wanted to pound it inside, go to our advantage right now."
C.J. Harris scored 16 points to lead Wake Forest (11-9, 2-4), which could not overcome the 18 turnovers nor the loss of Walker - who averages nearly three blocked shots and swatted away four before he was hurt in a collision with 9:50 left in the first half.
And No. 2 scorer Travis McKie could not get on track, finishing a season-worst 1 of 13 with three points - well below his average of 17.
"Losing Ty Walker really put us in a tailspin," coach Jeff Bzdelik said, later adding that he told McKie that "no player in the history of basketball is immune to nights like this when you're shooting the basketball. ... He had really good looks, and they just wouldn't go down for him, and I think it just kind of gets into your mind and you try to force."
Still, the Demon Deacons twice pulled within two points in the second half, the last time coming with 17 minutes left when Tony Chennault's layup made it 32-30.
Bernard James countered with a hook shot in the lane, and that started the game-breaking surge.
Snaer - the star of Florida State's upset at Duke five days earlier - hit 3-pointers from the right wing roughly 90 seconds apart, and Jon Kreft's layup in the post stretched the lead to 50-32 with just under 10 minutes left.
"They wore us down," Bzdelik said. "We weren't stopping them inside, and we weren't stopping them outside."
By then, Florida State was well on its way to its third victory in 12 days against the schools from North Carolina's Tobacco Road. The Seminoles beat then-No. 3 North Carolina by 33 points in Tallahassee, Fla., before Snaer's buzzer-beating 3 gave the then-fourth-ranked Blue Devils their first home loss in nearly three years.
"They've kind of bought into the fact that we're a team that has to win by committee," Hamilton said. "We don't have any one particular guy that we've got to go to for 15, 20 points a night. We have to give everyone an equal opportunity, and the guys have bought in. It took us a while to sort it out."
Unlike their instate rivals, the Demon Deacons aren't anywhere near the national rankings, instead losing for the fourth time in five games.
But this one didn't start to look like a blowout until midway through the second half.
Florida State didn't take its first lead until Luke Loucks' 3 made it 13-12 roughly 10 minutes into the game. That came during an 18-7 run that was capped when Snaer's deep 3 from the right wing pushed the lead to 20-14 with 7 minutes before the break.
The Seminoles led 29-23 at halftime, but Wake Forest found a way to stay in the game despite a half in which the Demon Deacons had nearly twice as many turnovers (11) as field goals (six).
"I felt good at halftime where were, knowing that if we keep coming like this, just be more cautious with the ball and continue to get some open looks, knock those down," Bzdelik said. "Just kind of went into a tailspin we never recovered from."
Nikita Mescheriakov had 13 points and Chennault finished with 11 for Wake Forest, which hasn't beaten the Seminoles since 2009.
Updated January 25, 2012