GAME NOTES: As Atlantic Coast Conference action starts to heat up, the Maryland Terrapins and Florida State Seminoles clash in Tallahassee at the Donald L. Tucker Center in a battle that could close the gap between the two programs and the ACC elite.
Maryland had a three-game winning streak snapped by Pittsburgh, 79-59, on Monday. The Terrapins were rolling, winning five of their last six before the Panthers took some of their momentum.
Florida State had won four in a row before falling to Virginia last Saturday, Jan. 4. But the Seminoles are once again heading in the right direction after a 56-41 defeat of Clemson last time out.
Maryland holds the all-time series advantage against Florida State, 29-13. These two ACC rivals have met every season since 1992.
Pittsburgh used a second-half explosion to pull away from the Terrapins in Maryland's last contest. The Panthers shot 53 percent from the floor to take a 79-59 blowout win in Pittsburgh. Seth Allen came off the bench to score 18 points for the Terps on 5-of-11 shooting, hitting 4-of-7 from 3-point range in the contest. Evan Smotrycz was the only other Maryland player to net double figures, adding 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting. The Terrapins shot a poor 35.7 percent from the floor in the loss, including 32 percent from 3-point distance.
Five Maryland players average scoring numbers in the double digits per game, led by Dez Wells at 14.4 ppg. Despite only five points against Pittsburgh, Wells is shooting 47.7 percent from the floor this season and is second on the Terrapins with 16 blocked shots. Jake Layman and Smotrycz are second and third in scoring, respectively, at 13 ppg and 12.4 ppg. Smotrycz leads the team with 6.8 rpg.
Florida State played stifling defense against Clemson in the Seminoles' last outing, holding the Tigers to 30 percent shooting from the floor and 41 points in the entire game. Ian Miller came off the bench to score 15 points for the 'Noles and dished out a team-best five assists in the win. Aaron Thomas and Devon Bookert each added 10 points for Florida State. As a unit, the Seminoles shot 47.3 percent from the floor, but went just 1-of-9 from 3-point range.
Miller hasn't started a game yet this season, but still leads the team in scoring average with 13.5 ppg in 27.9 minutes of action per contest. Thomas, who like Miller hasn't started a game this year, is second on the team with a 12.4 ppg average. Big man Okaro White is third on the team at 12.2 ppg, but is the leading rebounder with 6.5 rpg. Miller prides himself on being an all- around player, leading the team with 51 assists as well.
Maryland is ahead of Florida State in the ACC standings based on conference record, but at home the Seminoles are dangerous. FSU is playing some of the best defense in the nation at the moment, which Maryland will have to try and sidestep.
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