The Florida State team that Maryland was to face here Wednesday night will be a different one from the Seminoles the Terps saw in College Park three weeks ago. Maryland hopes that it will be a different team as well -- one that builds a big early lead and doesn’t collapse.
In what second-year coach Mark Turgeon called his team’s “toughest” loss of the season, Maryland led by 12 points in the first half and by nine at halftime. That’s when the Terps began their long stretch of cold shooting and Maryland wound up losing by three, 65-62.
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Turgeon has tweaked his starting lineup and rotation since that Jan. 9 game at Comcast Center, a loss that began a stretch of four defeats in six games. He moved sophomore guard Nick Faust (City) to the point and has also moved freshman forward Jake Layman into the starting lineup the past two games.
Florida State’s victory over Maryland was the second road win in as many games for the Seminoles to start the ACC season, but the loss of power forward Terrance Shannon to a potentially season-ending neck injury could make it easier for the Terps inside.
“He had a big impact in that game defending their big, strong guys inside, they have some heavy-duty bodies and he neutralized them,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said of Shannon on Monday’s ACC coaches’ teleconference.
Hamilton said that Shannon was “our most unheralded player” and that nobody has stepped in to give the same kind of contribution.
“That’s part of the problem, we don’t have enough guys doing the dirty work,” Hamilton said on the ACC coaches’ teleconference. “He was our dirty work guy. He was the guy who was giving us a lot of energy, a lot of hustle plays.”
Hamilton believes the Seminoles will get a more experienced, motivated team in Maryland. That was the first down-to-the-buzzer game for the Terps in the ACC. The following week, Maryland beat North Carolina State with Alex Len’s follow at the buzzer for the team’s only signature win this season.
“Any time you play a team the second time around, you expect them to be a little better than the first time you played them,” Hamilton said. “You don’t want to relax your players and them not remember that it was a very hard fought game coming from 12 or 13 down and still were able to blow game open by three points.”
Asked what difference he sees in the Seminoles without Shannon, Turgeon said: “I watch them on tape, they’re playing hard, competing. At times they struggle to score like we do. But they’ve got good players, they’re used to winning. What’s gone wrong? You have to ask Leonard.”
The Seminoles have averaged under 47 points over their last three games, including a 56-36 loss at Virginia on Jan. 19 and a 71-47 blowout at Miami on Sunday night, and teams seem to be having success shutting down senior guard Michael Snaer.
Snaer, who got off to a slow start against Maryland but wound up finishing with 15 points and blocking Seth Allen’s 3-pointer right before the buzzer, is averaging just over eight points a game in the four-game stretch, but hit a game-winning 3-pointer last week against Clemson at home.
Hamilton said that Snaer might be a little too unselfish, as well as the fact that the Seminoles don’t have anyone getting Snaer the ball in the right spots.
“Last year Michael was more of a catch-and-shoot guy who made plays when the ball was rotated to him,” Hamilton said. “In the current situation we’re in, he has to be more of a distributor and it’s not what he does best.”