By Don Markus
The Baltimore Sun
11:39 PM EST, January 30, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Maryland found another way to lose Wednesday night — agonizingly.
The Terps led Florida State by as many as eight points in the second half despite Alex Len being in foul trouble for most of the game, and they had a chance to seal the game in the closing seconds. But a missed dunk by Len opened the door for the Seminoles.
Michael Snaer answered — again.
For the second time in a week, the senior guard hit a game-winning 3-pointer, this time from the corner with 1.1 seconds left to give the Seminoles a 73-71 win at the Donald L. Tucker Center. A desperation heave at the buzzer by Dez Wells after a timeout didn't come close.
“It was really a great college basketball, unfortunately one team had to lose,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “I thought we really played well. The last play, give them credit, we were late on the double screen. ... We kind of panicked and went toward the ball and left Snaer wide open, and we knew he was going to make it. He's made a lot of big ones.”
The loss was the fifth in seven games for Maryland (15-6, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), and it erased a three-point defeat to Florida State (12-8, 4-3) on Jan. 9 at Comcast Center as the toughest loss for the Terps this season. That game ended when Snaer blocked freshman guard Seth Allen's shot in the waning seconds.
Wells led Maryland Wednesday with 19 points. Snaer, who beat Clemson with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer last week, also scored 19.
Wells didn't take any positives out of his performance.
“Whenever you lose like that, everybody takes it pretty bad,” said Wells, who hit eight of 12 shots, but also committed a team-high six turnovers. “We were so pumped after those guys got us on our home court. They just made a really good shot at the end.”
It was the disappearance of Len for most of the night — and then the blown dunk off a perfect lob pass from Nick Faust — that ultimately prevented the Terps from winning on the road for the first time in the ACC this season. Len finished with just four points in 17 minutes.
“Arguably everyone says he's one of our best,” Turgeon said. “I keep reading about it. It was a disappointing night. He was fouling, silly fouls, over the back, reaching in, post defense. Takes two dribbles back and shoots a 17-footer. I didn't recognize him. It was tough. ... We were just begging Alex, ‘You've got to play better, you've got to give something. If you play better we're going to win this game.' He didn't.”
Turgeon said it was the best job the Terps have done running the offense this season, in a game when junior point guard Pe'Shon Howard was back on campus suffering from the flu. The Terps hit 26-of-53 field goal attempts and 6-of-15 on 3's.
Senior Logan Aronhalt scored 11 points off the bench, and freshman forward Charles Mitchell added 10.
“It was fun to coach, they were running the plays,” Turgeon said.
The Terps dominated Florida State on the boards (36-20) and committed just four second-half turnovers after committing 12 in the opening half. But Maryland was outscored at the free throw line, 24-13.
“I can't remember the last time Maryland was in the double-bonus. It's been a long time,” Turgeon said.
Wells, the sophomore transfer from Xavier, was spectacular, hitting one tough jumper after another. A rare 3-pointer by Wells, who had come in just 8-of 32 from beyond the arc, gave the Terps a 69-66 lead with 1:57 to play.
But the Terps kept putting Okaro White on the free throw line, and the junior forward kept hitting. White, who played an instrumental role in Florida State's comeback win in College Park earlier this month, made all 10 of his free throws.
Wells hit another midrange jumper and the Terps forced a turnover before Faust was fouled with 1:13 to go. The sophomore missed the front end of a one-and-one after previously missing two straight free throws.
Snaer hit a running hook over Len to cut Maryland's lead back to one, 71-70, with 45.8 seconds left. Then came the missed dunk by Len with 13 seconds left.
“You get a7-2 guy six inches from the rim, you think he's going to make it,” Turgeon said. “Nick made a heckuva pass. It was great execution on our guys' part. ... I wish Alex would have laid the ball in, it would have put us up three and we could have done something different [defensively].”
The Terps conclude the first half of their ACC season with a home game Saturday against Wake Forest.
“It's just hard right now, you've got guys crying in the locker room, they're frustrated. We're just not quite good enough,” Turgeon said. “It's a fine line. We got to figure it out.”
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