TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | Maryland gamely survived Florida State’s attempt to bully it throughout the first half Tuesday night.
A quick burst just after the break was quite another matter.
The Terrapins suffered an 84-70 loss at the Donald L. Tucker Center, done in by a few decidedly bad minutes and an inability to withstand Florida State’s formidable post presence.
“Our two keys tonight were boxing out and rebounding, and sprinting back on defense,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “Quite frankly, we didn’t do either one of those. Talk is cheap. We haven’t been able to get through to the guys the importance of keys to victory, especially on the road.”
Terrell Stoglin scored 27 points for Maryland (12-5, 2-2 ACC), which led briefly in the second half before the Seminoles (12-6, 3-1) uncorked a 19-3 run to effectively cement the game.
“It started getting away from us,” Stoglin said. “We started missing shots and they started making shots and started executing on the offensive end. They made a run and we couldn’t get a run back.”
There were problems all night in the paint for the Terps, whose big men struggled to gain traction against one of the conference’s most consistently physical teams.
Most glaring was a second straight rough game for freshman Alex Len, who managed more fouls (four) than points (three) in just 18 minutes of work.
He wasn’t alone, though. The four recruited scholarship players in Maryland’s frontcourt rotation grabbed six rebounds in 80 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Seminoles rolled up 42 points in the paint and collected 17 second-chance points, with Bernard James enjoying a 17-point night largely through his crafty, brawny play.
“One thing we haven’t done a good job of as a coaching staff is we haven’t convinced our guys how important rebounding is,” Turgeon said.
Playing without foul trouble might have helped some. Len, James Padgett and Berend Weijs all picked up two fouls in the first 10 minutes, and the Seminoles easily pummeled Maryland in the paint in the opening minutes.
Yet Weijs provided enough competent minutes to help the Terps hold up until halftime and close within 36-33 at the break.
That was a victory of sorts and set up Maryland to make a push to open the second half. And so it did, nosing ahead 42-40 on Len’s lone basket of the game.
It was a short-lived lead —- seven seconds to be precise.
Florida State rattled off the next nine points, capped by a thunderous Bernard James dunk. Maryland’s Sean Mosley answered with a 3-pointer, only for Deividas Dulkys to connect from outside on consecutive possessions to push the Seminoles’ edge to 55-45.
The run left Maryland staggering and unable to hold up to Florida State’s inevitable return to pounding the Terps inside. And so it came to pass: Maryland never again closed within single digits.
“We didn’t play as good as we were supposed to in the second half,” freshman guard Nick Faust said. “We kind of let them outplay us, but we just need to bounce back from this loss.”
Doing so will require some self-reflection after enduring problems in so many obvious ways. The rebounding was shaky. The transition defense at times disappeared.
And more blatant than anything, the Terps couldn’t muster a push after the Seminoles opened up their first sizable lead of the night.
“We never responded to that,” Turgeon said. “It was a 10-point game with 15 to go. It was still a game. We never answered the bell after that.”
—- Patrick Stevens