Little went well Wednesday night for the Maryland men’s basketball team, which dropped its first game in exactly two months and had its 13-game winning streak snapped with a 65-62 loss to Florida State. But the Terrapins have little choice but to erase the ugly loss from the memory bank and curb-stomp it into oblivion.
The Terps committed 18 turnovers. Dez Wells had as many giveaways (five) as points on 2-for-9 shooting. They gave up 15 straight points to Okaro White, not to mention six offensive rebounds and six blocks from the 6-foot-8 Seminoles forward. They shot 31.3 percent from the field in the second half, went scoreless for nearly seven minutes and, when offensive execution stumbled in the face of Florida State’s pressure half-court defense, couldn’t get to the free throw line either.
Out of control at times, panicky at others, Maryland couldn’t close the Seminoles out at home. Instead, Coach Mark Turgeon’s bunch trudges to Miami (10-3, 1-0) on Sunday with a disappointing defeat, seeking answers and hoping this doesn’t become a trend within the grind of ACC play.
“It was good for us,” said Alex Len, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season. “Really tough team, it’s going to be good for us in the long run. We just have to learn from this game, and we’ll come back tomorrow and work hard.”
Turgeon picked up his players in the locker room, reminding them to keep level-headed and focus on the future. But there was plenty maddening about this loss, especially because the Terps had a 12-point lead early in the second half.
“You could say a lot of things cost us,” Seth Allen said. “Offensive rebounding, missed opportunities, really just who wanted it more at the end. We really fought to get back in it. Missed opportunities, we couldn’t get into our offense at the end, and that hurt us.”
The good news? Maryland still has 16 regular season games remaining, including its biggest road test this season against Miami this weekend.
“Coach told us just to push through it and just learn,” Nick Faust said. “There’s nothing else you can do.”
>> Speaking of Faust, he had 14 points and made a career-high four three-pointers, just days after missing most of the Virginia Tech game with back spasms. He looked back to full strength, logging crucial minutes down the stretch and even guarding Seminoles standout Michael Snaer. Afterwards, Faust said his back felt “solid.”
>> Pe’Shon Howard turned in another unimpressive performance at point guard, playing just 24 minutes and misfiring on all three three-point attempts. He also had three turnovers.
Logan Aronhalt, typically a sharpshooter for the Terps, was 1 for 6 from the field and 1 for 5 from beyond the arc, missing a few wide-open three-pointers that could have changed the tone. Then again, in a game when the Terps missed 11 straight shots during one stage and only lost by three points, any little tweak could have made the difference.
>> Some additional information on that final possession, courtesy of Turgeon. Seth Allen hoisted up a shot instead of dishing to Alex Len, who had rolled free off a screen in the paint.
“Seth had probably made up his mind that he was going to shoot it. I wish Alex would have set the screen more by halfcourt rather than the key. That would have opened up the floor a little bit more. It was pretty loud in there, hard to communicate.”
>> While Maryland struggled to score, Florida State was carried in the second half by White, who shot 7 of 13 from the field and finished with 20 points, 16 of which came after halftime.
“In the heat of the battle, I didn’t know he had 15 straight,” Florida State Coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I knew he was playing his butt off. I guess that is to be commended.”
Said Turgeon: “At the end tonight they just had the best player on the floor, Okaro White. We had no answer for him. When the game was on the line and we had to show toughness, we didn’t have it. I think it was 51-all and they got offensive rebound after offensive rebound, mostly him. That was the difference.”
>> Bishop O’Connell guard Romelo Trimble, the first commitment for Maryland’s 2014 class, was in attendance. Terps wide receiver Stefon Diggs also received a massive ovation when shown on the video board. All that noise probably interrupted his cellphone conversation.