By Don Markus
The Baltimore Sun
7:50 PM EST, February 8, 2014
COLLEGE PARK — For Maryland point guard Seth Allen, the lasting memory of his team’s 24-point loss at Florida State nearly a month ago was of the Seminoles hitting one 3-pointer after another.
“I just remember walking in and they hit every shot,” Allen recalled Saturday at Comcast Center. “It was crazy. It was like 3, 3, 3. They really embarrassed us at Florida State.”
Allen gave the Seminoles a similar memory. His career-high 32-point performance helped lead the Terps to an 83-71 victory and avengethe most one-sided loss in coach Mark Turgeon’s three seasons at Maryland.
The 6-foot-1 sophomore, who missed the first 12 games of the season with a broken foot, made a career-high seven 3-pointers and 11 of 15 shots overall.
The victory put Maryland (14-10, 6-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) over .500 in league play entering a week in which the Terps play at Virginia on Monday and at No. 11 Duke on Saturday. It was also Turgeon’s first win over the Seminoles.
The memory of last month’s pounding in Tallahassee, Fla., an 85-61 loss Jan. 12, remained vivid with Turgeon, too.
“That was something I was saying to our guys: ‘We owe these guys,’” Turgeon said. “I owe ‘em like five times, not just once. [Florida State coach] Leonard [Hamilton]’s got me pretty good.”
It was Maryland’s first win over a team ranked in the top 50 of the Ratings Percentage Index since beating Providence in the Paradise Jam championship game in November.
“We had to have it,” Turgeon said. “I don’t ever tell the kids that, but I told them this morning, ‘We got to get this one, guys.’ I know they whupped us pretty good, but in this building, today, we’re a better basketball team. We’ve just got to go out and prove it. We did.”
Behind Allen’s hot shooting, the Terps built a double-digit lead in the first half and closed the half on a 9-0 run with three straight 3-pointers — the first by Allen and the next two by sophomore forward Jake Layman — to go up 46-29 at halftime.
It wasn’t as easy as it could have been, but then, when has it been for Maryland this season? The Seminoles cut what had been a 20-point deficit in the second half to eight with a little over two minutes left.
Leading 73-65, and with some in the announced crowd of 14,783 nervously remembering how the Terps nearly blew a 10-point lead in the final 1:45 of a tight win over Miami, Allen made his last 3-pointer of the afternoon to all but seal the victory.
Asked whether this was the kind of performance he envisioned Allen giving before a preseason fracture of his left foot, Turgeon said: “I think shooting[-wise], he took it to a little bit different level. He’s getting closer.
“That was a pretty high level. There were a couple of times in the second half where he made some incredible shots when we weren’t really doing very well.”
Allen had some help in the first half from Layman, who scored 10 of his 12 points in the period. Allen had 21 by halftime. Junior guard Dez Wells scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, going six of seven from the free-throw line, and had six assists.
Though the Terps self-destructed at times down the stretch with turnovers, they managed to make most of their free throws, finishing the game 19-for-23 overall. Maryland also was 27-for-52 from the field against one of the ACC’s stingiest defensive teams.
It didn’t hurt Maryland that Florida State (14-9, 5-6) played without senior guard Ian Miller, the team’s second-leader scorer, because of an ankle injury. After hitting 16 of 24 3-pointers against the Terps at home, the Seminoles were just 5-for-12 Saturday, 24-for-63 overall.
“I think the residual affect of us being shorthanded had an effect on it,” Hamiliton said. “Obviously, any time you have a kid who’s red hot like Seth was, that compounds it. We had plenty of opportunities.”
It was not just Allen’s offense that helped Maryland keep its flickering postseason dreams from being snuffed out completely. The Terps did a decent job contesting the taller, stronger and more athletic Seminoles around the rim.
Despite giving up 20 offensive rebounds, the Terps were outscored only 20-12 on second-chance points and 34-26 in the paint. After being outrebounded 19-12 in the first half, Maryland stayed even with Florida State on the boards in the second half.
The play that seemed to encapsulate Maryland’s defensive effort in the second half came with 57 seconds left and the Terps hanging on to a nine-point lead. A deflected Seminoles pass went into the backcourt, where Layman lunged on the floor to force a turnover.
“That was kind of great for Jake, because we were kind of just limping in to the finish,” Turgeon said. “Jake dove, and that really kind of took their spirit there. That was tremendous. That was a winning play. … It’s nice to have a double-digit lead most of the game. It was fun.”
Mostly, it was fun to watch Allen. What the Seminoles did collectively last month at home to Maryland, Allen did nearly single-handedly Saturday.
“Seth was on fire,” Layman said. “He took a lot of pressure off of us. He was unbelievable.”
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