College Park, Md. – With Maryland needing a win to keep their slim NCAA Tournament hopes alive, they came out and took control after a sluggish start to the game this evening. Maryland overcame an early 9-2 deficit as well as a strong finish to the first half by the Seminoles to take control in the second half and earn their first top-50 RPI win.
Maryland responded with a strong second half in which they out-scored Florida State 40-25. Maryland played an impressive game on both sides of the floor tonight against Florida State, a team that came in first nationally in opponents field goal percentage.
The win saw Maryland with five players – Terrell Stoglin, Dino Gregory, Jordan Williams, Adrian Bowie and Sean Mosley – in double figures tonight, a sixth – Pe’Shon Howard – finished with nine points. It was the fourth time in the last five games this feat has been accomplished.
The early deficit had Gary Williams frustrated, and mentioned how his team should have known to guard Dulkys. He made sure to praise his team’s defense, noting “It was probably the best man-to-man defense we’ve played in a while”. Maryland’s defensive pressure was a great point of pride for Coach Williams given the size difference between the teams.
Maryland seems to be on a roll right now, and it’s no coincidence that the emergence of Terrell Stoglin and the continued development of Dino Gregory are the major reason why. Both players, in addition to Pe’Shon Howard, have given Maryland consistent scoring to help out Jordan Williams. The Terps still need this consistency night-to-night from all 3, but they are starting to put it together. After another disappointing night from Cliff Tucker it seems like the Terps are now mostly using a 9-man rotation, but the majority of minutes belong to 6 players.
Tucker, Hawk Palsson and James Padgett are seeing spot minutes, but none can be counted on to log major minutes in big games. It’s a fall from grace for Tucker who was counted on to play major minutes this season. The emergence of Howard and Stoglin have helped offset the disappointment of Tucker.
The win restores the slim hopes the Terps had at an NCAA Tournament bid. It’s just unfortunate that so few fans were here to see this game. The Diamondback, Maryland’s on-campus newspaper, has been quite critical of the down-trodden Terps. Something Coach Gary Williams alluded to for why fans may be so down on them. To be fair, many outlets have been critical of the Terps this year, it may have something to do with the slim chance at a Tournament berth.
With three games to go, Maryland really needs to win all three to have any shot at the tournament. Maryland continues their march to the tournament with a game in Chapel Hill on Sunday night against UNC.