Maryland faces tough road test at FSU

Maryland faces tough road test at FSU
January 29, 2013, 5:15 pm
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Mark Turgeon wants more out of the Terps on the road

Maryland will travel to Florida State to take on the Seminoles on Wednesday night, looking to avenge a previous loss that changed the course of the Terps season. 

Prior to the home loss against FSU on January 9, Maryland looked ready for a big season.  The Terps came into that game 13-1 with a convincing 94-71 victory over Virginia Tech in their ACC opener.

At halftime of the FSU loss, Maryland lead by nine and looked to be in shape for its 14th win of the season and a 2-0 start to ACC play. But in the second half of that game, a different Maryland team emerged. 

In that second half against the Seminoles, Maryland struggled to score, often with puzzling decisions on the offensive end and poor shot selection. While the Terps have maintained their defensive intensity and rebounding efficiency, Maryland’s offense has suffered since.

Along the way, the Terps have lost three of five games and scored 52 points or less in three games. 

Now the Terps sit at 15-5 with a 3-4 record in the ACC. For a team that seemed prime for the NCAA Tournament before the first FSU game, Maryland now finds itself squarely on the bubble. 

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called the FSU loss “the toughest” of this season.

“We don’t want that game to affect us this game,” Turgeon said.

“We just panicked,” Turgeon said of the second half against FSU. He explained that the panic impacted the players and the coaches, and that it felt like the “building caves in on you a little bit.”

The young Terps team learned from that loss, Turgeon said, and he expects to see good fight from his squad Wednesday night. 

In Maryland’s last game, a 20-point loss to Duke, Turgeon said he was happy with the effort from his team in the first half but that Duke played so well it hardly mattered.

“Duke was off the charts the other day. I don’t know that anybody in the country could have beat Duke the other day,” the coach said.

Maryland will continue to improve on the road, the coach explained, as young players get used to the pressures and atmosphere of hostile ACC venues.

“What goes wrong now, when we’re struggling we go more individual and shoot it too quick,” Turgeon said. “When it gets tough we don’t execute at the highest level.”

Maryland needs better execution Wednesday night, with guys trusting their teammates and playing within team confines.

“I expect us to be a really good road team before this season is over,” the coach said. “It won’t be easy.”

On the other side, a normally strong Florida State squad has struggled this year.  Since beating Maryland in early January, FSU lost three of four games, including an ugly defeat at Virginia where the Seminoles only scored 36 points. 

If either Maryland or Florida State (11-8, 3-3) plans on postseason play, a win Wednesday night would be a big help.