Mark Turgeon said Tuesday he was anxious to see how his team would do against a tough, physical team like
Now he's anxious to get back in the gym and try to fix the problems that arose in Maryland's tough 65-62 loss to a tougher, more poised Florida State team Wednesday at Comcast Center. Maryland squandered a 12-point lead, turned the ball over to keep the Seminoles in the game early, and couldn't make anything work on offense at times against Florida State's bruising, shot-blocking defense.
"The game was what we expected, they're a really tough team," said Alex Len, who led Maryland with 15 points and 10 rebounds, his fifth career double-double. "They showed their toughness in the second half, they had a lot of confidence even down 11."
Florida State actually turned that deficit around to an eight-point lead in the final minute, out-rebounding Maryland 28-16 in the second half, outshooting the Terps, 41.9 percent to 31.3, and coming up with a lot of loose balls and big plays.
"We were up 10-or-11 in the first half and it should have been 15-or-16," said Turgeon. "We were missing wide-open shots and we were just throwing the ball out of bounds. I feel like there were a lot of opportunities for us. Our guys didn't make good decisions. We just didn't play well. It's the first time we've seen that kind of defense."
That the Terrapins (13-2 overall, 1-1 ACC) got the game back within reach in the final minute was perhaps the most encouraging part of a discouraging loss that may have long-term implications. Florida State (10-5, 2-0) has two conference road wins under its belt and now heads home for four of its next six games.
Maryland, which saw it's winning streak ended at 13 games, one shy of the school record, must regroup and head to Miami for a Sunday night game, the beginning of a stretch of four road tilts in the next five contests. NC State comes to Comcast next Wednesday in what shapes up as another big game.
When this game was on the line, two Seminoles took control. Okaro White, a 6-8 junior forward, scored 15 straight points at one juncture on his way to 20 points, nine rebounds and six of FSU's 13 blocked shots.
"We had no answer for him," said Turgeon.
Senior guard Michael Snaer had 15 points in a foul-plagued 22 minutes but he saved his best for last, coming up with the key defensive play at the end. First, the Terrapins had to find a way to get close enough to get the game down to a final play.
"We made some shots at the end, and fed off that energy," said freshman Seth Allen, who had 13 points but five turnovers. "We just needed to do that earlier."
Trailing by eight with under a minute to play, the Terrapins came out of their offensive shell. On a set play, Logan Aronhalt fed Alex Len for a dunk to make it 59-53 with 56 seconds remaining.
A Maryland press forced a turnover and Allen hit a big three-pointer to pull the Terrapins within three at 33.6 seconds. Snaer canned two free throws but Allen drove to the basket and got a three-point play, scoring over 7-3 Boris Bojanovsky.
This time Devon Booekrt hit two free throws at 18.8 seconds, but at 10.6, Nick Faust hit a high-arcing three to make it 63-62.
Snaer hit one-of-two free throws, leaving the door open a bit with 8.8 seconds left but he made the decisive play at the other end, blocking Allen's three-point attempt to win the game. White grabbed the rebound and hit one of two free throws with one second left to put the final score on the board. White scored 16 of FSU's final 20 points over the last 8:45.
"Coach called a ball screen at the top for me," said Allen. "It was a little low. It was supposed to be set a little higher (to create more space). I tried to go left, but their big man showed, so I cut back right and then pulled up and Snaer was there to make a great play on the shot. I'm going to learn from it. I wanted to attack but I didn't feel like I had enough time."
Time wasn't on Maryland's side much of the second half, the Terrapins having trouble putting together baskets. They would finish shooting 36.7 percent, their clankiest night since canning just 33 percent in the season-opener against Kentucky. The Terrapins had hit better than 50 percent in the last five games albeit against a caliber of foe unlike Florida State.
After a horrendous first half, Florida State also finished at 36.7 percent, and Maryland even won the battle of the boards, 42-39, though it didn't feel that way in the second half, particularly as White had seven boards, four offensive that frame.
"He's really quick," said Len. "We couldn't box him out."
Another familiar bugaboo - turnovers - haunted Maryland. The Terps had 18 miscues to FSU's 13. To go with those 13 blocks, the Seminoles also had 10 steals.
"They made it tough to fee the post," explained Allen. "We really couldn't get the ball inside. The guards had to try to make plays and they were long. Give them credit. We couldn't really get into our offense."
Faust had hit a three-pointer at 4:34 to put Maryland ahead for the first time in four minutes but White made sure it didn't last. He got a three-point play on a stickback to put FSU back in front, then added a fastbreak layup after Pe'Shon Howard's jumper was blocked.
Wells missed a tough drive and at the other end, the Seminoles worked the clock, took a desperation three, and who else came up with the rebound? White went to the line and hit two free throws for his 15th straight points for FSU, and a 57-51 lead with 2:31 left.
Allen missed an open jumper but Snaer fired up a quick shot in transition and missed. Aronhalt missed a tough drive and then James Padgett couldn't get up a shot on his rebound. Snaer ran the clock down this time and scored on a drive with 1:07 to play to make it a eight-point game, Florida State's biggest lead of the night.
"We were never in sync," said Turgeon. "We panicked as players and as a coaching staff a little bit. We couldn't figure it out. We kept subbing guys in and trying different things."
Aronhalt had ended a drought of seven minutes and 53 seconds - 10 consecutive Maryland missed shots - when he drained a much-needed three-pointer with 7:55 to play to tie the game at 46-46. It was his only basket of the night in six attempts. The Terrapins had fallen behind nearly two minutes earlier and weren't showing many signs of life on the offensive end, the Seminoles imposing their will.
"We let them out-rebound us and out-hustle us in the second half," said Faust, who had 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, 4-of-6 behind the arc. "Guys are down but Coach picked us up. He told us to push through this and learn from it. There's nothing else you can do."
FSU wasn't setting the world on fire offensively in the second half either, and Maryland got a stop and Dez Wells drove to the basket and dished to Len for a dunk and a two-point lead at 7:06.
Leonard Hamilton went to a smaller, quicker team on the floor and created some match-ups like Len trying to stay with White. White hit a short jumper to tie it, and then his driving lay-up at 6:45 made it 50-48.
"It's a good learning experience for us because we have 16 more games left," said Len. "We've got to learn from this game and just keep hard to get better every day."
Turgeon had feared his young team wasn't ready for this kind of test and he was correct. Florida State's defense controlled the action early in the second half to take control of the game before the crowd of 14,157.
"They are athletic, they're good defensively," said Turgeon. "They protected the rim very well. Their post defense was very good and we couldn't drive by them. We didn't make good decisions. We had a lot of guys not play well and not get out of their funk."
Wells struggled with five points on 2-of-9 shooting, his lowest scoring game of the year, and he had five turnovers and just three rebounds. Charles Mitchell started for the third straight game but he took and made just two shots to finish with four points and seven rebounds. He didn't have much luck locating White and keeping him off the glass, either.
Howard had three turnovers and missed all three of his shots, finishing with a season-low one assist. Jake Layman had three points on 1-of-4 shooting, and Padgett had five points and four rebounds. Shaquille Cleare didn't score in eight minutes and had just two boards. Maryland's bench, such a factor in the first 14 games, outscored Florida State's subs just 24-23. FSU had a 28-22 edge in points in the paint.
The Terrapins were sharper in the first half as FSU struggled to shoot. The momentum looked like it might carry over. A play early in the second half typified the Terrapins much of this season, Howard poking the ball away from Terry Whisnant, losing control as he sped forward only to have Wells take over and take the ball to the basket. He missed a contested lay-up but Faust followed for an easy stickback to make it 39-27 at 18:29.
But Whisnant canned a three, and then Snaer got another one in transition to make it 41-33, and the Seminoles were in the midst of a 16-2 run. Snaer scored on the break but Len got a dunk to slow the run temporarily.
Thomas hit a baseline jumper and then Terrance Shannon got a tip-in on the break after another Terrapin turnover. When Ian Miller, who had 12 big points, got a three-point play in transition at 13:05, the Seminoles were within 43-42.
Florida State missed two jumpers to take the lead and Shannon bricked four consecutive free throws but finally, as the Terrapins were missing 11 straight shots, White stuck back a Seminole miss and the visitors had their first lead since the game's first six minutes, 44-43, at 8:51.
"We've got to get into the flow of ACC play and learn you've got to bring it every day, every play," said Faust.
Maryland held Florida State to just five baskets over the last 11:48 of the first half to open a 36-27 lead at the break. Maryland shot 42.9 percent (12-of-28) but held FSU to 31 percent shooting (9-of-29).
The Terrapins had a commanding 26-11 rebounding advantage but gave some of it back with 11 turnovers. All along there was a sense the Terps should have been ahead by more as FSU struggled.
The Terps led by 10 when Miller knocked down his second three-pointer of the half to make 29-22 at 3:16. Allen responded with a three at the shot-clock buzzer and when he hit two free throws at 1:29, the Terps lead was 34-22.
Miller, on his way to nine first half points, hit his third three-pointer just one second before half. Len led Maryland with eight points and six rebounds but Allen had seven points and Faust, coming back from his back injury, had six. Turgeon used all 10 of his 10-man rotation but Hamilton played 11 players in the first half, and the Terrapins had just a 15-14 edge in bench scoring at the break.
Leading by one midway through the half, the Terrapins started stringing together some defensive stops, leading to a 7-0 run. Wells grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a lay-in to make it 18-15 at 10:30, and then Len made a nice wraparound bounce pass to Padgett for a three-point play. When Len hit two free throws at 9:06, Maryland led 23-15.
The Seminoles would go scoreless for three minutes and nine seconds before White got a rebound and hit a short jumper. But Len tipped in a Faust miss and it was 25-17 with 7:51 remaining.
Aaron Thomas hit a jumper but Mitchell scored inside and then Len hit a baseline shot to make it 29-19 at 4:19.
The first four minutes of the game had produced just one basket, three total points and five turnovers for the Terrapins. Fortunately Florida State misfired on seven of the first nine Seminole shots as the two defenses controlled the early action.
The Terrapins trailed when Allen hit a three-pointer to put them ahead 8-6 at 14:27. Snaer answered with a three but then Layman hit one, and then Allen found Faust for a triple in transition and a 14-9 lead. The run of threes continued with Miller canning one.
Terrapin turnovers allowed the 'Noles to nudge back, and it was 16-15 when Thomas picked Howard's pocket for a lay-up at 11:49.
The Terrapins fell a game short of equaling the 1931-32 Maryland team's record of 14 consecutive victories.
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