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Red-hot Terps seek another ACC win vs. FSU

If there's one player who has single-handedly fueled Maryland during its current 13-game winning streak, coach Mark Turgeon hasn't found him yet.

Not that that's a bad thing, apparently.

The Terrapins (13-1, 1-0 ACC) haven't lost in two months and host Florida State tonight as one of the nation's hottest teams. Trying to figure out the biggest reason why is posing more and more difficult, however, thanks to Maryland's depth and Turgeon's willingness to give his young players their share of minutes.

The result has been impressive to the Terps' second-year coach.

"I don't know who our best players are. I really don't," Turgeon said after Maryland beat Virginia Tech 94-71 last Saturday. "I think we all feel comfortable as coaches, whoever we put in they can handle the situation."

It was Jake Layman against the Hokies after the freshman found out just before tip-off he was starting in place of injured guard Nick Faust. Layman responded with a season-high 20 points and four 3-pointers in helping Maryland take control of the game early.

In past matchups, it's been freshman forwards Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell out in front. Or freshman guard Seth Allen. Or sophomore transfer Dez Wells. Or senior sharp-shooter Logan Aronhalt.

The Terps don't feature a go-to scorer, and they haven't needed one as of yet.

Sophomore center Alex Len leads the team with 13.5 points per game and Wells is next at 12.3. Faust, who scores 9.1 points per game, missed the Virginia Tech tilt with back spasms, but Turgeon said he expects his sophomore to be ready for the Seminoles tonight.

Faust and the Terrapins are facing a Florida State team that beat Clemson in its ACC opener and has won five of six. Senior guard Michael Snaer, a preseason all-ACC pick, leads the Seminoles in scoring at 15.6 points per game while junior forward Terrance Shannon grabs 6.5 rebounds per game.

But Florida State has had problems this year stopping bigger teams such as Maryland, which leads the ACC in rebounds per game (42.9).

Add that the Terps tend to go nine- and 10-deep off the bench, which keeps everyone fresh, and Maryland seems poised to notch a win that would equal the longest win streak in program history.

The Terrapins won 14 in a row during the 1931-32 season. Meanwhile, Florida State has never won in Comcast Center and hasn't beaten Maryland on the road since 2001.

"We're a tough team, we're getting better mentally," Allen said. "It starts in practice. The past couple practices, we've been coming out strong. You can see it translate into game time."

Both Allen and Turgeon praised the crowd of 17,950 for making things tough on Virginia Tech, and they're hoping for more of the same against Florida State.Tonight's game marks the end of an eight-game homestand. Maryland heads to Miami on Sunday before returning to Comcast Center Jan. 16 to host North Carolina State.

Turgeon said winning the ACC opener should serve the Terps well as the conference matchups continue.

"I keep saying, I don't think we're anywhere near ... this game's going to give a lot of guys confidence," Turgeon said. "It's going to be fun to watch this team just continue to get better."

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