Florida State wipes out Terps' fast start, 105-85

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The University of Maryland basketball team is still looking for someone its own size to play. The Terrapins are also searching for an opponent with the same depth, experience and outside shooting. Or lack thereof.

After being run over by North Carolina and Georgia Tech, the two biggest teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Maryland was merely run through by Florida State, 105-85, last night before a crowd of 9,018 at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.


Spotted a surprising 12-0 lead at the start, the Terps quickly reverted to recent form. Their missed shots became another missed opportunity, their rebounding was absent and the Seminoles overcame their early deficit to win easily.

"I think we can play better than that," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "You can't ask the impossible of our team. But we can play better than that. I didn't like the way we competed the last 10 minutes of the first half."


It was the third straight ACC loss for the Terps, who return home to play Wake Forest on Saturday night. As happened against the now No. 5 Tar Heels and No. 8 Yellow Jackets, Maryland (8-4, 0-3) demonstrated the void left by Walt Williams.

Despite a career-high 28 points for senior guard Kevin McLinton, the Terps continued to struggle. Maryland scored only 11 in the last 15 minutes of the first half and trailed at halftime, 40-23.

"When you take a team 12-0, you're supposed to take advantage of that," McLinton said. "We scored 11 points the rest of the half, that's terrible. We get into a rut where we can't score. We've got to find a way to score when we're down or we're not going to win many games in the ACC."

Just as disturbing as Maryland's offense was its defense. The Terps have given up an average of 97 points in three ACC games, including back-to-back games of more than 100 points for the first time since Williams became their coach.

It took Florida State (10-5, 2-1) nearly five minutes to wake up, but once the Seminoles found their range, the complexion of the game changed quickly. They missed their first eight shots, committed five turnovers and didn't score until Douglas Edwards put in a layup with 15:11 left in the first half.

"We kind of figured we'd come back," said Edwards, who finished with a season-high 26 points and 11 rebounds. "If they kept playing really well and hitting their shots, it would have been a really exciting game. They would have given us a lot of problems."

Maryland didn't do either, and its lead evaporated into a 40-11 run for Florida State the rest of the half.

Like their previous two games, the Terps made a run to start the second half. They scored on their first eight possessions to cut Florida State's lead to 47-39 with 16:03 to play. But McLinton was stripped -- actually hammered, but no call was made -- and the Seminoles pushed it back up to as many as 23.


"I definitely got fouled," McLinton said. "I wouldn't go over to the referee if I didn't think I was. But that shouldn't have stopped us."

Said Williams: "You can't expect to beat a team that was ranked 23rd in the country [last week] by coming back from 20 down."

Although senior forward Evers Burns scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, freshman guard Johnny Rhodes continued to have his problems. Rhodes, who has shot less than 40 percent in his past eight games, was three of 12 and finished with nine points.

About the only Terp who isn't struggling is McLinton. He continues to show he's one of the best all-around guards in the ACC, as well one of its toughest players, but McLinton can't carry this team as Williams did last year.

"Walt scored a lot of hard points for them when the game was on the line," said Florida State guard Sam Cassell of Baltimore, remembering the 38 Williams scored in a 93-85 Maryland win here a year ago. "We knew if we stopped Evers and Johnny we thought we'd have a good chance to win."