TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Maryland put an end to a two-game losing skid in the ACC with a 74-72 victory over Florida State last night.
With No.16 Maryland (15-6, 7-3 ACC) in danger of a third consecutive conference defeat, senior Steve Blake made the big plays that the Terrapins had been desperately needing. Blake put the Terps on his back late in the game, with a 3-pointer and four clinching free throws.
Blake finished the night with 15 points, 10 in the second half.
After taking a five-point lead at halftime, the Terps found themselves tied at 48-48 with 12:40 to play.
Later, with the momentum swinging in the Seminoles’ direction, Maryland turned to Blake, who hit a 3-pointer from the corner to break a 67-67 tie with 2:37 left. The Terps didn’t relinquish the lead again.
“[Blake] has done it for us for four years, and he’s done it with the game on the line,” coach Gary Williams said of the point guard. “We’re really going to miss him.”
Blake sandwiched a defensive rebound between two pairs of free throws, all in the final 17 seconds. The senior from Florida scored the Terps’ final seven points.
Tim Pickett, Florida State’s leading scorer, battled foul trouble for the second straight game. He headed for the bench after picking up his fourth foul with 9:37 remaining. Maryland was able to push the lead to seven without Pickett in the game.
The Terps began the game by taking a 14-4 lead. Drew Nicholas, who had a game-high 20 points, accounted for eight of the points. Nicholas was hot from 3-point range early, hitting his first three attempts in the first 4:30. He had 11 points in the first half.
“We had to dig deep, and we found it tonight,” Williams said. “I told the players that we want to ride this game into Sunday against Wake Forest.”
Florida State (11-10, 2-8) was able to weather Maryland’s opening run, unlike the 18-0 start the Terps had against the Seminoles in College Park earlier this season.
This time Florida State went on a 10-3 run, cutting the lead to three on a Trevor Harvey hook shot with 13 minutes to play. Harvey led Florida State with a career-high 19 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Seminoles junior point guard Nate Johnson hit four 3-pointers in the first half, including two in a row to tie the game at 29-29. Two Adam Waleskowski free throws gave the Seminoles their first lead of the night.
Johnson’s first-half performance topped his career best from long range. His previous high for 3-pointers made was two.
“Our kids gave a tremendous effort.” said Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton. “The end result is that they had more guys that made plays.”
Tahj Holden had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Ryan Randle added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Terps.
After they play No.15 Wake Forest on Sunday, the Terps travel to No.8 Duke on Wednesday.