Seth Allen Shoots Down Florida State

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Seth Allen scored 32 points as Maryland held off Florida State in an 83-71 win at the Comcast Center Feb. 8.

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Mark Turgeon stressed the two things he wanted Seth Allen to do on Friday -- defend and run the team.

He neglected to mention the very thing the sophomore guard may be best at, and that's shooting the basketball. Allen's firing forte was on full display Saturday afternoon at Comcast Center in an 83-71 ACC victory over Florida State.

Allen pumped in a career high 32 points, also notching a career high seven threes in just 10 attempts, including a dagger with 1:53 left that sealed the deal for the Terrapins (14-10, 6-5), who have now won three of their last four heading into a big game Monday at 20th-ranked Virginia.

"I knew it was a quick shot but I was just so open and I was so on, I knew I was going to make it," he said of the jumper just after FSU cut the lead to eight points. "I heard people yelling, ‘no, no, no,' but I just shot it."

It was the kind of play that has got Allen in the doghouse in his shortened season so far but not on this afternoon, as the Terrapins came out on fire, stayed that way and avenged a 24-point loss to Florida State (14-9, 5-6) less than four weeks ago.

"We had to have it," said Turgeon. "I don't ever tell the kids that but I told them this morning that, ‘We've got to get these guys. I know they whooped us pretty good, but in this building, today, we're a better basketball team. We've just got to go out there and prove it.'"

Allen, just 12 games back from his broken left foot, equaled a season high with 35 minutes, and he already had a new scoring high by halftime. He could feel it coming when he bore down after practice Friday and hit 23 of 25 shots in a final good luck surge. Saturday on the same Comcast floor, he hit 11 of his 15 shots, his best shooting game since coming back to the team Dec. 29.

"Seth Allen was on another level tonight, he made some incredible shots," said Turgeon. "He played within himself most of the game and I was really proud of him. He shared the ball, took care of the ball until the very end. When he's making shots he guards better, too."

All the Terrapins guarded better than in the previous encounter with FSU. Maryland got back on defense, got up on the guards better and got in the passing lanes to produce nine steals, one off their season high.

"They beat the crap out of us last game and we really came in with a chip on our shoulder," said Allen. "We played really good defensively. We really pressured the ball and whenever they were on the three-point line we really pressured so they couldn't pick our defense apart."

The result, aided by Allen pacing the offense, was the Terrapins building a 20-point lead in the second half before an excited crowd of 14,783. The Terrapins, who finally may have some momentum, head into a big week with the game at Virginia and then next Saturday at 11th-ranked Duke.

But gutty Florida State, which had beaten Maryland four times in a row, whittled that deficit down to 64-50 with 8:08, to go when Devin Bookert canned a three to complete a 10-4 Seminole uprising. Allen, as he had done all day, broke up the FSU momentum with his sixth three-pointer of the game.

The ‘Noles nudged within 12 points when Aaron Thomas hit a three-pointer at 5:42, to make it 69-57. A Bookert jumper and then a steal and dunk by Okaro White made it 71-61, at 4:14, and then Thomas, who had 17 points, missed a three-pointer that could have made it tighter.

"It another learning experience for us, to keep the leads when we have them and really put a team away," said Jake Layman, who had 12 points, including two big threes at the close of the first half. "It showed in the Miami game, too."

Dez Wells had 15 points and a team-high six assists. He took over more of the ball-handling in the final three minutes, and took the ball to the hole for a 73-61 lead at 2:31. White, always a Terrapin nemesis and this day with 12 points and eight rebounds, answered with a dunk. Wells missed a front end, the Seminoles cashing in with a Bookert drive to make it a eight-point game with 2:05 remaining.

The Terrapins came down quickly, escaping pressure, and right in front of the Maryland bench, Allen pulled up and drilled that final three-pointer without regard to shot clock or situation. The Terrapins' lead was back to 76-67 at 1:53, and the Seminoles wouldn't get closer than nine the rest of the way.

One more big play remained and that one was turned in by Layman on defense. Florida State was still fighting when the ball got knocked into the backcourt and Layman chased the play down, diving as Bookert dove on the ball but slid out of bounds with a minute left and the Terrapins up by nine. The Maryland bench erupted for their hustling teammate.

"That was great for Jake because we were just kind of limping to the finish there," said Turgeon. "Jake dove and really took their spirit. It was tremendous. That was a winning play."

Maryland shot 51.9 percent (27-of-52) as a team and were 10-off-24 behind the arc, not quite equaling the 69 percent shooting from deep by FSU in the first meeting this season but good enough.

Defensively, Florida State could manage just 38.1 percent (24-of-63) shooting, and just five of 12 shooting behind the arc. They hit 16 threes in the first meeting.

"They're hard for us," said Turgeon of matching up with FSU. "I thought in the second half we did a little better job on the boards."

FSU had a 38-31 edge on the glass but had three more turnovers than the Terps, 16-13, and didn't shoot Maryland out of the game like before. Twenty FSU rebounds came on the offensive end, helping keep Seminole hopes alive.

The Seminoles did flex their muscle to start the second half, getting a third-chance point on a Michael Ojo stickback. But they hit just three of their first 11 shots, and couldn't make up much ground. Layman got a stickback of his own, and when Wells scored in transition after a turnover, Maryland led 50-33 with 17:30 to go.

After the most patient of possessions, Wells beat the shot clock with a three off an Allen drive-and-dish, and the lead reached 18 points, 53-35, at 15:57.

"Florida State plays a swarm-type defense," explained Allen. "Once you get in the paint, they just attack you so that's why I was jumping in the air and making passes for Dez or Jake to hit threes."

The lead reached 20 a few minutes later, Roddy Peters in the game ever so briefly scoring on a drive to make it 60-40 at 11:46. Peters then took a foul line jumper early in the shot clock and was promptly pulled after playing just three minutes. Turgeon also talked on Friday how the freshman point guard had to relocate his confidence and help shoulder the backcourt workload more, especially going into a quick turnaround Monday.

Charles Mitchell started again and had eight points and five rebounds. Nick Faust was just 1-of-6 from the field but had six points, three assists and some sticky defense on Seminole perimeter players. Shaq Cleare and Jonathan Graham came off the bench to combine for 10 rebounds (six by Cleare) and two points apiece.

Fast First Half Finish

Maryland shot a sizzling 61.5 percent (16-of-26) to open a 46-29 halftime lead. Allen equaled his career game high with 21 first half points, hitting 7-of-9 from the field. Layman got hot late, draining two threes to end the half and finish with 10 points. Mitchell provided some inside presence against big Florida State with six points on 3-of-3 shooting.

"We finished the first half well, and built that lead and maintained it in the second half," said Turgeon.

The Seminoles, who 67 percent from three-point range in the first half of their 85-61 rout of Maryland, were just 2-of-7, this time around and hit just 35 percent overall against improved Terrapin transition defense.

Maryland's first half lead had dipped to 35-27, but the Terps ended the half on a 9-2 run the last 2:44, thanks to Layman hitting two threes and Allen's fourth trey. Maryland was 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from three-point range.

Earlier, after Thomas went baseline for a dunk to cut Maryland's lead to 20-17, at 9:03, the hot-shooting Terrapins went on a spree, scoring 15 of the next 21 points to lead 35-23, when Faust hit two free throws at 4:33. Allen had just hit three when he was fouled behind the arc, bailed out on his only bad shot of the night.

The normally charity-stripe-challenged Terrapins were so hot they hit 8-of-10 free throws in the half, and they finished 19-of-23 (82.6 percent).

The Terrapins hit seven of their first nine shots, giving the Seminoles a sample of the treatment the Terps got in Tallahassee on Jan. 12. It was 12-11, Terps, when Allen hit a leaner and then Wells canned a 15-footer to push the lead to 16-11 at 13:19.

Allen caught in the air by a defender, hung as the Seminoles collapsed to play a pass, and then he hit the shot. That's when he said he knew it was his night shooting the basketball. Of course, he had already scored seven points.

"I made a decision in mid-air and kind of floated it in," Allen said. "After that I kind of felt like I could hit anything."

After a flurry on the FSU glass, Wells broke loose on the break and fed Faust for a lob dunk at 12:12, to make it 18-13. Allen had the hot hand early with nine points in the first six minutes.

Florida State has now lost four of the last five games and missed out on winning back-to-back games at Maryland for the first time in the 43-year history of the series. Maryland's next home game is Feb. 18 against Wake Forest.

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