COLLEGE PARK —When Mark Turgeon began addressing the media after his team lost a 12-point second-half lead – and the game – to Florida State, the Maryland coach’s voice was hoarse, and his mood was particularly sour.
Maryland had won 13 games in a row until the Seminoles ended the streak Wednesday night at Comcast Center with a 65-62 victory.
Neither Turgeon nor Maryland’s players seemed to quite know how to react to the loss. It had been two months since their last defeat. This one – coming at home, where the Terps were 11-0 -- seemed particularly jarring.
With the loss, Maryland, which had lost only to Kentucky in the season opener, fell one victory short of matching a school record for consecutive victories set in 1931-32.
Florida State (10-5, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) blocked 13 Maryland shots and forced the Terps (13-2, 1-1 ACC) into 18 turnovers. Maryland was undone by going nearly seven minutes without a point until Logan Aronhalt drained a 3-pointer to tie the score at 46 with 7:54 left.
“When the game was on the line and we had to show toughness, we didn’t have it,” Turgeon said. “I think it was 51-all and they got offensive rebound after offensive rebound. We panicked as players and we panicked as a coaching staff a little bit. That’s the first time we’ve seen that kind of defense for 40 minutes and we couldn’t handle it.”
For the first time since the season-opener, the Terps were playing against a team that could match them physically.
As usual, Florida State brought plenty of height – the school is known for recruiting for size and length. The Seminoles started 7-footer Kiel Turpin and played another 7-footer, Boris Bojanovsky.
Florida State took an eight-point lead with 1:07 left before the Terps attempted to come back.
Nick Faust drew the Terps to within 63-62 on a deep 3-pointer with 11 seconds left.
But Florida State guard Michael Snaer (15 points) was fouled intentionally and converted one of two.
With the Terps trailing 64-62, freshman Seth Allen’s 3-pointer was blocked by Snaer with two seconds left, sealing the game.
Maryland only needed a 2-pointer to tie, and Turgeon had dispatched center Alex Len to set a screen. But the screen wasn’t set where Allen thought it would be.
“It was pretty loud in there and hard to communicate,” Turgeon said. “Seth had probably made up his mind he was going to shoot it.”
Allen, who had 13 points but also five turnovers, said he probably should have tried to take the ball to the basket.
“I wanted to attack but I didn’t feel I had enough time,” Allen said. “But I probably did (have enough time).”
The Terps led by as many as 12 points in the second half before Florida State began to come back. Coach Leonard Hamilton gambled by leaving Snaer, his senior leader, in the game after Snaer picked up his third foul early in the second half.
The gamble paid off as Snaer converted a 3-pointer and a drive to trim Maryland’s advantage to 41-35. The lead became 43-42 on a 3-pointer and foul shot by Ian Miller with 13:05 left.
The Seminoles took their first lead of the second half, 44-43, on a put-back by Okaro White with 8:45 left. White scored 15 straight Florida State points during a key stretch of the second half.
White led Florida State with 20 points and nine rebounds.
“We’re a team that’s growing and we’re not close to reaching our potential,” Hamilton said.
The Terps were led by Len, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out.
The Seminoles, who have been among the nation’s leaders in team defense, entered the game surrendering an average of 67.6 points, eighth in the ACC. The Seminoles lost shot blocker Bernard James, now with the Dallas Mavericks.
But Florida State shut down Maryland in the second half.
The Terps shot 10 for 32 (31.3 percent) after halftime.