Welcome to our next edition of "The Five," where we take a look at five trends from Maryland's 67-65 loss to Florida State March 13 in the second round of the ACC Tournament.
Solve the Riddle…
With the game tied and less than five seconds left, what happens when you leave a 7-foot-3 center wide open under the hoop? No this is not one of those jokes you find on a Popsicle stick. This one doesn't have a happy ending.
Maryland struggled to communicate on ball screens throughout the game, and it was never more evident than during the final, excruciating play. Nick Faust was guarding Ian Miller when Boris Bojanovsky came up to set a ball screen near the top of the key. As directed, Mitchell jumped the screen to double Miller. I smelled trouble when I saw Faust sagging a few feet off of Miller, giving him enough room to find Okaro White under the hoop. Graham slid over to double White on the block, and Jake Layman got a piece of the pass. Unfortunately for the Terps, the ball wound up in the hands of the 7-footer Bojanovsky down under the hoop.
Watching the replays, it did not look like either Faust or Mitchell communicated on the screen. If the play was to double, Faust was too far off ball to force Miller into a bad play, and instead he gave him just enough room to find White. The rest, well, that is 61 years of ACC history.
The answer to the aforementioned riddle: You get one big JAM to enjoy on the ride home.
I am not usually big on what ifs, but you can't help but wonder what would have happened if Evan Smotrycz, who sat out with back spasms, would've played. Now, let me be clear I understand personal health and safety is a priority, but when it'stournament time I think you should at least give it a go. If five minutes into the game you can't do it, fine, take a seat, but to not try at all... man, that is hard to swallow. If that was me, you would have had to chain me to my seat. Not saying it was an easy decision for him, but if I could sit and watch the game on the bench, I would have tried to be on the floor.
More importantly, how did Smotrycz's absence affect the game? Charles Mitchell played 24 minutes, missing his only shot attempt and collecting four rebounds. Shaquille Cleare wasn't much better, hitting one of his three shots and collecting three rebounds in 17 minutes of action. Jake Layman, who was one of the rare bright spots in the game for the Terps, was forced to play 33 minutes and looked like he played 73 by the final few minutes. Nick Faust -- with his lackadaisical turnovers and not-so-selective shooting -- would have certainly spent more time on the bench if Smotrycz played.
But unfortunately for UMD he didn't. The good news? He has a whole heck of a long time to rehab that back.
Perhaps it was an omen. It took junior wing Nick Faust exactly 48 seconds to have his first turnover, and things just went downhill from there. Lazy passes, ill-advised 3-point jumpers and just all-around questionable decision making plagued him throughout the game. Faust finished with just six points on 1 of 5 shooting, and though he dished out five assists, they were negated by his seven turnovers. That's right, seven.
After the initial hiccup, Faust turned the ball over three more times in the first half, including once at the end that sparked FSU on a momentum-building run. Right after Faust had semi-redeemed himself with a four-point play to give Maryland its largest lead, 34-28, he came right back with a weak pass to Seth Allen that Devon Bookert stole and turned into a easy deuce on the other end.
Then, right after halftime with the score 37-34 Maryland, Faust threw yet another long, loopy pass that Aaron Thomas easily picked off. Thomas finished with a thunderous dunk that spurred FSU on an 8-3 run to seize the lead.
Faust began compounding his turnover issues with fouls, and in the span of a minute, between the 14:25 and 13:39 mark of the second half, he committed two fouls and had two miscues, including a third ill-advised pass and an offensive charge. The pass led to another Thomas dunk, and after the charge Thomas knocked down a dagger 3-pointer to grow the Noles' lead to 49-43.
Soon after, Turgeon yanked Faust from the game, and that's when Maryland made a charge to draw within a bucket. Take from that what you will.
Maryland's interior game -- or lack thereof -- was a glaring weakness March 13. The Terps were out-rebounded, 39-26, and Florida State out-scored the Terps in the paint 36-22 -- including that last second slam by Bojanovsky .
Close but no cigar... Maryland lost four of its final five games on last-second plays. Someone cue Al Pacino's pregame "Inch by Inch."
More good news, less Karl Hess in the Big Ten.
The Five: What I Learned After Florida State
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