About 2/3 of this game was really fun to watch. Then Maryland threw in a solid 8 minutes of terrible basketball, and then it went back to watchable. Unfortunately, during those 8 minutes, FSU went on a 21-3 run, which shut the door on any chance of a MD win. Time for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Terrell Stoglin has a company parking spot here for the season, and this game pretty much solidified it. Stoglin’s ability to put the ball in the hole all season has never been in question, but the combination of FSU’s defense and Maryland’s lack of scoring options (pretty much just #12) posed a threat to his offensive dominance.
Well, in the first half of this game, Stoglin put the vaunted FSU defense to shame by scoring from all over the floor. Eventually he did go cold in the second half, but not before dropping 27 and showing that there isn’t a team in this conference that can guard him when he’s on his game. A few more assists like the shiny dime underneath to Berend Weijs for any easy dunk would be great to see, but Stoglin is a scorer first by choice and necessity.
Another good unheralded game from Mychal Parker, who had 4 points and 4 rebounds at halftime, and finished with 6 and 7. The Seminole defense effectively took away anyone who couldn’t beat their man off the dribble, and Parker was one of the few players on the floor capable of doing that.
His 7 rebounds were even more impressive in my opinion due to the lack of size Maryland had on the floor against Florida State’s XL front line. Parker knocked down both of his free throws, and even though his bad pass to Alex Len was one in the long string of Terps 2nd half turnovers, overall he had a very nice game.
That sound you heard was a blip on Nick Faust’s EKG. Even though it came very late in the game after he started 0/3, Faust finally aired a teaser trailer and it showed why Maryland fans had such high hopes for him. The step back jumper that he drained from the left wing showed a swagger he’s been lacking all season. He also drew some fouls on his way to the basket, and was a part of an active and effective Maryland defense in the first half.
Faust may not be a 12 point a game player this year, but seeing him finally look confident in the flow of the game was a sight for sore eyes. Up until last night, I was lobbying for Faust’s seat on the bench, and although I’m still not high on him this year, I can now finally see why he inspired so much hope as a prep player.
A while ago, I really thought Maryland would be able to outsource a bulk of their scoring to the Ukraine. The past three games have made it apparent that a lot of scoring - probably too much - will rest with Sean Mosley. Occasionally Mosley looks like a legitimate second scorer. He’s underrated at finishing around the basket, an average three point shooter, and has become a legitimate threat at the free throw line. Then he’ll have a game where you wonder if he even played. Last night was one of the latter.
A late 3 pointer was the only time Mosley’s name came up during the game. Other than that, FSU completely bottled him up, and he was never able to shake his defender whether he had the ball or not. Everyone knows that Mosley has never been the most athletic guy on the floor, which made it extra difficult for him to get free for a look. But he appeared defeated later in the game, dribbling once or twice and then immediately looking to shovel the ball to someone else. Plenty of teams in the ACC play good defense, and Mosley will need to find a way to get himself involved against the Virginia’s of the world. Run off screens, work the boards and draw fouls, just figure out a way to take more shots and have more of an impact.
The forwards getting into foul trouble in the first half. Fair warning, I started watching this game with 10:00 left in the first half, and didn’t see Alex Len or James Padgett until after halftime. The fact that Maryland was able to only be -1 in rebounding at the break was an amazing feat considering their interior presence consisted of Berend “the Scarecrow” Weijs and 6’5” Mychal Parker.
Ugly is precisely the word for that 21-3 run. FSU’s defense switched back on, causing back to back to back turnovers, and they never looked back. Maryland looked completely lost on offense, with Pe’Shon Howard picking up a terrible charging call by bulling down the lane, and Sean Mosley trying an ill advised turnaround jumper which was blocked. Stoglin started pulling up too early in the shot clock (even for him), and since the team wasn’t settled, it lead to back to back uncontested Devidias Dulkys threes.
These lapses have become an unfortunately consistent part of Maryland basketball this year. It happened in the other road loss to NC State, and even at Comcast against Wake where Maryland was able to pull up just quick enough to keep from crashing. Just one miscue can trigger a chain reaction, and because Maryland is such a young team, they don’t know how to deal with even the slightest bit of failure without complete panic. After they played inspired defense throughout the first half, Maryland bit on every pump fake, and allowed an average FSU offense to work to their strength (the free throw line).
Up until they took a 1 point lead, the Terps looked like a team that could at least compete with any in the conference. The next 7 minutes showed that no lead they have will ever be safe because of their major fluctuations in offensive continuity.
I still think Alex Len can be good, but last night was ugly for him to. I don’t know if it’s Mark Turgeon misusing him, or Len just going to the wrong spots on the floor, but seeing him beyond the 3 point line with a ball in his hands is like watching a dog at the vet. Jumpy, erratic, and completely uncomfortable with the situation he’s been put in.
The two early fouls didn’t help, he never established his presence on the inside, and instead looked totally out of sorts besides a nice running hook shot in the second half. The most worrisome part is this: Alex Len will have to be a reason that Maryland wins games this year. If this team is going to steal a few games from better teams, he can’t be an ancillary part, and last night he wasn’t even that. He was a complete liability on both ends of the court, and his lack of experience was completely exposed.
Credit where credit is due, Florida State certainly looked like a top tier ACC team. They may never develop into a consistent offensive force, but their man to man defense was the best I’ve seen this season. And what impressed me the most was their poise when things went south. When Maryland was making their charge in the second half, and Terrell Stoglin was incinerating their defense, the Seminoles never looked out of sorts. Instead, they weathered the storm by always answering the Terps with a bucket, and then efficiently pulled away from an inferior team. For Mark Turgeon and his players, this game should give them a belief that they can play with anyone, but they won't get any results until they determine why they can't prevent bad from going to worse.