Maryland has taken the best shot from a number of teams this season. In the early part of the schedule, it was Oregon State and Boston University at home. Last week, it was Pittsburgh on the road.
Then came Sunday night, when Florida State's best shot wasn't a rim-shaking dunk by either of its 7-footers or any one of its athletic wings at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The best shot was a steady stream of 3-pointers by one of the Atlantic Coast Conference's worst 3-point shooting teams that knocked out the Terps by halftime and sent them to an embarrassing 85-61 defeat.
“We're not as bad as the score,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said after his worst defeat this season and the second-worst defeat since coming to Maryland three years ago. “We're not that bad.”
Said junior guard Dez Wells, who led the Terps with 15 points: “It's hard to beat a team that hits 17 3s [actually 16 of 24]. It was their night, they hit a lot of tough shots.”
Florida State made 10 shots from 3-point range in the first 15 minutes, and 16 for the game. Maryland didn't get a field goal in the last 8:30 of the first half and trailed by 20 points at halftime.
The 16 3-point field goals for the Seminoles were the most they had made in 23 years of ACC competition. It was also Florida State's largest margin of victory over Maryland in the series.
Trailing, 17-15, after a dunk by junior guard Nick Faust (City), the Terps watched as the Seminoles hit their next seven shots, six of them from 3-point range to pull ahead, 37-19.
The 42-22 halftime deficit was the largest of the season for Maryland (10-7, 2-2 in the ACC), which was coming off a 20-point loss at Pittsburgh last Monday night.
Asked what he thought as the Seminoles broke the game open toward the end of the first half, Turgeon said: “A lot of things. You get ticked because they haven't been making 3s all year and they continue to make them, make them, make them. … You get frustrated.”
Said Wells: “Just try to stop the bleeding. We got to the free-throw line a lot in the first half just by attacking and being aggressive, it's hard to stop the bleeding when the wound is so big.”
The wound got even bigger in the second half.
When sophomore guard Aaron Thomas made a 3-pointer for Florida State (11-4, 2-1) to give the Seminoles a 63-37 lead with 9:44 remaining, it represented the largest deficit for the Terps this season, eclipsing the 25-point deficit at Ohio State.
The Seminoles led by as many as 31 points with a little under four minutes left. Until a late spurt by Maryland, Florida State was threatening to give Turgeon his worst loss since coming to College Park three years ago. The Terps lost at Virginia by 27 points in his first season.
Closing the wound is something the Terps will try to do once they get back to College Park, where they play Notre Dame on Wednesday night. The collective confidence of the team's first 2-0 start since the 2002-03 is not completely gone, but it has to be quickly eroding.
“Coach just tries to keep it positive, no matter what the score is,” said Faust, who scored 14 points while coming off the bench for the Terps. “No loss is as bad as [it seems], no win is as good [as it seems]. He tries to keep it even, keep guys level.”
Asked what he thinks of a disgruntled fan base that is starting to express the same disappointment in Turgeon as it has in football coach Randy Edsall, Faust said: “Coach believes in us, we believe in him. We think we're doing the right things here at Maryland.”
Turgeon believes his team will rebound from the back-to-back losses of 20 points or more.
“We're going to be all right,” Turgeon said. “We have a lot of guys who aren't playing well. Wednesday night they're going going to play well. Kids are resilient, we'll bounce back.
“We're fine. We're 2-2. We're not where we want to be. We've had three of our first four [in the ACC] on the road. I wish we would have competed a little better. Hopefully we will Wednesday.”