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The Early Lead
Posted at 09:44 AM ET, 01/18/2012

Florida State pulls away from Maryland in second half of ACC game


Florida State's Bernard James (5) and the Seminoles were too much for the Terrapins in the second half Tuesday night. (Matt Gentry - AP)

Maryland hung around with Florida State early on Tuesday night, but the Terrapins’ front-court players ultimately were overmatched against the Seminoles’ brigade of big men. One game after blasting ACC favorite North Carolina, Florida State got another offensive explosion to outpace the Terrapins, who have allowed an average of 82 points in league road losses to FSU and North Carolina State.

Florida State returned nine players from the team that reached last season’s NCAA tournament Sweet 16. And the Seminoles remain stingy defensively, leading the ACC in shots blocked, steals and field-goal percentage defense. With 6-foot-10 Bernard James and 6-11 Xavier Gibson, Coach Leonard Hamilton has an imposing front court to unleash on opponents.

Florida State has a ways to go to live up to preseason expectations and return to the NCAA tournament. The Seminoles squandered several opportunities to beat anyone of note during nonconference play. Then they dropped a 20-point game at struggling Clemson earlier this month in ACC action. But if the offense continues to play as it has the past two games — scoring 90 against North Carolina and 84 against Maryland — the defensive-oriented Seminoles will be well on their way to the NCAA tournament.

What else mattered Tuesday:

Georgetown 83, DePaul 75: With guard Markel Starks sidelined with a stomach ailment, the burden fell squarely on the shoulders of Hoyas leading scorer Jason Clark to negotiate DePaul’s pressure. Clark was excellent, scoring a career-high 31 points as he made 11 of 14 field goal attempts. Otto Porter collected 15 rebounds for the Hoyas, who dominated DePaul in the rebounding battle.

Michigan 60, Michigan State 59: This has become a feisty rivalry now that the Wolverines are nationally relevant again. This was the first meeting between the schools with both teams ranked since 1998. And this was Michigan’s third straight victory in the series after the Spartans had won 18 of 21 meetings. By the way, nine of the Big Ten’s 12 teams are ranked in the top 50 in the Ratings Percentage Index.

Kentucky 86, Arkansas 63: Anthony Davis showed why he
Kentucky's Anthony Davis, right, already has set the program’s single-season record for blocks, and he’s only a freshman. (James Crisp - AP)
would be a very high NBA draft pick this June — if he chooses to leave school after his freshman season — with a career-high 27-point effort in which he blocked seven shots. By mid-January, Davis already has blocked a school-record 84 shots.

More on Washington Post Sports :

Maryland coverage at Terrapins Insider

Virginia coverage at Cavaliers Journal

Virginia Tech coverage at Hokies Journal

By  |  09:44 AM ET, 01/18/2012

 
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