COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WUSA) - After the first half of Wednesday night's game, it looked like the Terps would get an easy victory over Florida State and cruise to their 14th straight win. A streak that long would have probably jumped them into the top 25. However, the team that showed up after halftime did not resemble the one that was playing efficient basketball earlier. That gave the Seminoles an opportunity to make a run and eventually win the ball game.
Despite losing the lead, I think this game was actually good for Mark Turgeon's team in the long run. A young team needs a loss like this to make them mentally tougher down the road. That's the obvious and sellable excuse. But what this loss really showcased was this team's resiliency.
Look at the tale of the two halves. In the first half, Maryland shot 42%, out-rebounded FSU 26 to 11, and held the opponent to 31% shooting. In the second half, it was a role reversal. The Terps were shooting 31% to the Seminole 42% and they were getting pounded on the boards 28 to 16. Nevertheless, despite being down by 59 - 51 with 1:07 left to play, Turgeon's group looked far from young.
Alex Len would convert a dunk that would spark an 11-5 run cutting the deficit to two points with eight seconds to play and giving Maryland a chance to defy the odds. During that run, you saw guys step up and make impactful shots and play smart basketball to help the team win. Plus, they didn't have to rely on one player. The Seminoles had to defend all five guys and when the opportunity presented itself, so did Maryland's mental toughness. During the unforeseen run, I was impressed. Comcast Center was impressed. And I think it's fair to say Florida State was impressed - and shocked.
But when it came to executing, that final play to tie or win the game, that's when Maryland looked young. And they are allowed to do so, for no other reason than they are young. Seth Allen's game winning attempted was swatted before it even left his hand. Many are going to be hard on him for not dishing the ball to Len in the post, but no one will be a harsher critic than Allen himself.
"I'm just going to learn from this mistake," Allen said after the game. "I'm young; a freshman. We got a lot of more games to play."
Well said and I expect to Allen and the rest of the Terps to be firing on all cylinders come Saturday at Coral Gables.
-This was probably Allen's worst game as a decision maker. He had five turnovers and took some bad shots, including the last one. I expect him to bounce back with a strong performance.
-Dez Wells didn't show up Wednesday night, either. He shot 2-9 form the field and also had five turnovers. As one of leaders of the team, he needs to perform better in such a big game.
-Outside of Len, Nick Faust was the only player to play well throughout the game. He converted 50% of his shots, including 4 three pointers. His biggest bucket came during the last minute rally. A three pointer to make it a one point game.