Maryland Downs Florida State, 78-62
Terrapin's Terrell Stoglin goes up strong to the basket. Maryland defeated Florida State 78-62 at the Comcast Center in College Park, MD on Wednesday, February 23, 2011. Orlando Urbina/DC Sports Box
COLLEGE PARK, MD - The Maryland Terrapins balanced efficient scoring and defensive intensity Wednesday evening to defeat the Florida State Seminoles, 78-62 at the Comcast Center. The win improved Maryland’s record to 7-6 in the ACC and 18-10 overall and moved them into a 5th place tie in the conference with Clemson.  The loss dropped Florida State’s record to 9-4 in conference play and 19-8 overall.  The Seminoles have never won a game at the Comcast Center, with tonight’s loss dropping their record in the building to 0-7.
Five Maryland players reached double figures in scoring, led by freshman guard Terrell Stoglin’s game high 17 points. Forward Dino Gregory (14 points), guard Adrian Bowie (12 points), center Jordan Williams (11 points) and guard Sean Mosley (10 points) joined Stoglin in double figures in the game.

“We played like a team tonight” said Jordan Williams, who recorded his 21st double-double this season, one shy of the school record 22 held by Maryland great Len Elmore. “It’s definitely great to know that my team helps step it up when I miss a shot. They come back out and hit a shot for me, they get an offensive rebound for me. It’s definitely huge for our team.”

While Maryland finished with a balanced attack and shot an effective 52% from the field for the game, the Terps struggled in the early going, committing two turnover on their first two possessions. Maryland’s sloppy play allowed Florida State to jump out to an early 9-2 lead, with all nine points scored by junior guard Deividas Dulkys in the game’s first two minutes.  

“He’s a great shooter, but he’s a great standstill shooter” said Adrian Bowie, referring to Dulkys. “You want to take away what he does best and that’s what he does best.”

After Dulkys’ fast start, the Terps limited the guard from Lithuania to just two points the remainder of the half, forcing the guard to drive to the basket and taking away his opportunities to plant his feet and shoot.  He finished the game with 14 points.

“They’re so big inside that we were gambling a little bit. Dulkys came out and hit a couple early when we got caught in transition really, not necessarily our drop back defense” head coach Gary Williams said. “We figured it out and we just didn’t give many open looks on the perimeter.”

Once Maryland made adjustments to contain Dulkys, the Terps were able to dig out from the early deficit they were facing. They soon evened the score at 18 with just over 11 minutes remaining in the half; following a three-point basket by freshman forward Haukur “Hawk” Palsson.

Maryland eventually secured their first lead of the game a few moments later, building it to nine points with just over four and a half minutes remaining before intermission.  But the Seminoles responded with a quick 6-0 run and the half ended with the Terps clinging to a one point lead. While Maryland shot over 50% from the field during the first 20 minutes, they also committed eight turnovers, which Florida State converted into nine points.

“The first half, we were trading baskets and coach [Williams] was real upset about that and he got us at halftime and told us that in order to win the game we’re going to have to score” said freshman guard Terrell Stoglin, who’s averaging 19.2 points over the last five games. “We’re going to score our baskets, but we’ve got to stop them. “

Jordan Williams of the Terrapins shoots over two Seminole defenders. Maryland defeated Florida State 78-62 at the Comcast Center in College Park, MD on Wednesday, February 23, 2011. Orlando Urbina/DC Sports Box
That’s exactly what Maryland did in the second half as the Terps again shot over 52% from the field but held the Seminoles to just 39.1% shooting.

Maryland opened up the second half by quickly building their lead to seven points. The Seminoles responded, as they did before halftime, preventing the Terps from establishing a large lead.

Terrell Stolin changed all of that with a three point basket which appeared to finally break it open for Maryland and pushed the Terps’ lead up to nine. A few moments later, Jordan Williams hit a jump shot to extend the lead to 11, their first double digit lead of the game and one which they wouldn’t relinquish.

Maryland’s ability to build a substantial lead was aided by their great play on defense, coupled with their good offensive play against the number one field goal percentage defensive in the country. They were also aided by stellar rebounding, grabbing ten more rebounds than Florida State in the second half and finishing the game with a six rebound advantage over the Seminoles.

“In the second half, with our man to man, that’s probably the best man to man [defense] we’ve played in a while” said head coach Gary Williams. “That was great to see because we were really carrying out assignments really well in terms of help and recovering back to our man and things like that. It’s a tremendous team effort, especially on the defensive end of the court. “

Forward Dino Gregory continued to show his senior leadership, again reaching double figures and also grabbing eight rebounds, blocking three shots, and dishing out an assist. After struggling in the first half and making just one of four shots, the senior from Baltimore scored 12 of his 14 points in the last 20 minutes of the game, helping to start a key scoring run that allowed Maryland to finally pull away from the Seminoles.

“In the first half I got some good looks, I was just missing the shots” said Gregory, who reached double figures for the fifth straight game and twelfth time this season. “At half time I just calmed myself down and in the second half I got pretty much the same shots and just knocked them down. “

Gregory knows how important this game was for Maryland and their NCAA tournament chances, especially with only one home game remaining for the Terps this season.

“It’s crush time” said Gregory. “ It’s a do or die moment. It’s my last chance, I’m a senior now.”

The Seminoles were lead by guard Derwin Kitchen, who scored a team high 16 points and dished out six assists. Kitchen noted Maryland’s good play in his postgame comments. “They played well. Whenever you can shoot over 50 percent on your home floor, you have a good chance of winning. They took care of business tonight.”

Maryland’s next game is on Sunday, February 27th, at 7:45 PM at North Carolina.