Michael Snaer acknowledged he never felt comfortable playing in one of college basketball's most hostile environments, from the rowdy fans perched on the sideline to the way Duke tried to pressure the Seminoles out of their offense.
One shot changed everything -- and ended Duke's long reign on its famed home court.
Snaer hit a 3-pointer as time expired, and Florida State beat the fourth-ranked Blue Devils 76-73 on Saturday, snapping Duke's 45-game home winning streak.
With the game tied, Luke Loucks sprinted up the middle of the court before zipping a pass to Snaer on the right side in front of the FSU bench. Snaer quickly launched the shot over Andre Dawkins that dropped cleanly through the net at the horn, stunning the once-rowdy crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium and sending the Seminoles' bench spilling onto Coach K Court in celebration.
"When it went in, I didn't know what to think," Snaer said. "It was amazing."
Snaer's basket gave the Seminoles (13-6, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) a fourth straight win, which includes last weekend's 33-point home rout of preseason No. 1 North Carolina. It marked only the second time in school history that the Seminoles have beaten both Duke and North Carolina in the same season, the other time coming in 2002.
It marked the first home loss for the Blue Devils (16-3, 4-1) since falling to the eventual national champion Tar Heels in February 2009. It also ended Duke's 64-game home winning streak against unranked opponents, which began after a one-point loss to Florida State five years ago.
"There's not too many times teams can come in and win at a hostile environment like Duke and a great team like Duke," Loucks said. "We just kind of saw an opportunity here and went ahead and seized it. After the jubilation and jumping around in the locker room, the whole speech was that we're not finished. We only have four ACC wins right now, and that's not going to get us into the (NCAA) tournament."
Xavier Gibson led Florida State with 16 points, while Snaer scored 14 -- including a banked-in 3 to beat the buzzer on the final play of the first half.
Duke led by nine in the first half and by eight midway through the second, but the Seminoles just wouldn't let the Blue Devils pull away to tie a school and ACC record for the longest home winning streak. Instead, they kept attacking and knocking down tough shots.
In fact, Snaer knocked down a pair of clutch shots in the final minute. On the first, he drove into the paint and knocked down a pull-up for a 71-70 lead with 55.8 seconds left. Then, after Austin Rivers tied the game on a driving basket with 4.9 seconds left, Snaer answered with an even bigger one, putting him at the center of a celebration that migrated all the way across the court to stand in front of a stunned group of Cameron Crazies.
"The kid hit a beautiful shot," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said the shot looked good to him, prompting a reporter to ask him if he had any doubts it would go in.
"None whatsoever," Hamilton said as he playfully looked to the ceiling. "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it."
Duke came in ranked last in the ACC in field goal percentage defense, an unusual stat for Krzyzewski's program. Florida State finished this one at 54 percent, including 67 percent (18 for 27) in a tense second half. The Seminoles scored 50 points after halftime.
Rivers hit a free throw to give Duke a 70-69 lead with 1:13 left, but he missed the second and Snaer followed with his basket for the lead. But Loucks and Gibson each went 1 for 2 at the line in the final 35 seconds, setting up Rivers' final basket that put Duke within reach of overtime.
Duke had won 46 straight at home from 1997-2000, and most of the wins in the current 45-game streak had come by double-digit margins. Duke overcame its own 40-percent shooting by knocking down 10 3-pointers. The Blue Devils also dominated the offensive boards and outscored Florida State 20-6 on second-chance points, but they couldn't come up with a final stop.
"It's so frustrating because we prepare so well and work so hard," Rivers said. "Everybody fought. I don't think anybody was lazy. We were blow for blow and they got that last blow in, the last shot at the last second."
Rivers had 19 points to lead Duke, while Dawkins had 14.