Terps get revenge on FSU, 84-63

UM pays back 'Noles for 2001 loss, takes over top spot in ACC

`Wanted to embarrass them'

Dixon makes 8 steals, is first in ACC to reach 1,800 points, 300 steals

January 27, 2002|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Both teams started sluggishly, but in the end the Maryland Terrapins did all of the slugging, and did they ever enjoy it.

Yesterday's 84-63 rout by No. 3 Maryland over Florida State added yet another burst of steam to an impressive season by putting the Terps alone in first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, a half-game in front of Duke.

After overcoming poor early shooting and producing only nine points in the game's first 10 minutes, the Terps lined up their weapons, took a 39-33 lead by halftime, then ran the Seminoles out of Cole Field House before a sellout crowd of 14,500.

The Terps (16-3, 6-1), who matched their best ACC start ever, were too big, too deep, played too much defense for Florida State to handle, and threw in a dash of bitter memories from last year's 74-71 home loss to the Seminoles to drive them even more. Oh, and Maryland also had Juan Dixon on its side.

The senior shooting guard and first-team All-America candidate from Baltimore keeps finding different ways to be brilliant. Yesterday, Dixon came within two steals of becoming the first Maryland player under coach Gary Williams to record a triple double. He settled for game highs of 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight steals, becoming the first player in ACC history to record 1,800 points and 300 steals.

Dixon was at the heart of the 14-0 Maryland run that broke the tired Seminoles -- who were two days removed from a victory over Clemson -- down the stretch. The Terps already were cruising with a 58-47 advantage with 10:38 left, having held the Seminoles (10-8, 3-4) to 14 second-half points.

Over the next three minutes, Dixon's boundless energy took over. He stole the ball three times and hit three consecutive, medium-range jumpers, the last one coming after he swiped an in-bounds pass following a Florida State timeout. The Seminoles, who committed 17 turnovers, threw the ball away again, and senior forward Byron Mouton finished the run with an authoritative slam to make it 72-47 with 7:39 left.

"I love playing this game. I've played it all my life," said Dixon, who has 1,900 career points and tied his career high in steals and rebounds. "If you don't have fun, you're going to struggle. Having fun is what this game is all about."

Said Williams: "As time goes by, I hope we all appreciate Juan Dixon. When there are big plays to be made, he wants to be the guy who takes the shot or goes for the steal. We were tired today. Both teams were tired for scheduling reasons. But [Dixon's] energy was incredible. If I was a player in high school looking for somebody to imitate, I'd look at Juan."

Dixon's spark ran through the Terps, especially Mouton, who played perhaps his best all-around game at Maryland. Besides scoring 18 points and adding four rebounds, four assists and two steals in 33 minutes, Mouton clamped down defensively on streaky shooting small forward Antwuan Dixon and held him to five points on 1-for-7 shooting.

Mouton's effort also typified the Terps at the defensive end, where Maryland had 16 steals. Although point guard Steve Blake went scoreless for only the fourth time in his career, he dished out nine assists and denied Florida State point guard Delvon Arrington the ball enough to limit him to 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting.

"When I come out of nowhere to get a steal, you know things are going wrong [for the other team]," said Mouton, who has been known to suffer a defensive lapse or two.

"There aren't too many situations we haven't been through," junior backup guard Drew Nicholas said. "We know what needs to be done."

Said Arrington: "If you're not prepared for it, any defense can be difficult. I'm not saying we weren't prepared, but we started throwing the ball away and the game got away from us. I can't say we ran out of steam, but we let them get their hands in the [passing] lanes and finish. We let the crowd get into it, and you can't do that here."

Shooting guard Monte Cummings had 13 points but was no factor. After scoring 12 first-half points to keep Florida State close, freshman forward Anthony Richardson finished with 14 points. The Seminoles shot only 37.3 percent, their worst percentage since losing at home to Western Carolina on Dec. 8. They made just two of 12 shots from three-point range.

When Dixon and Mouton weren't killing Florida State in the open court, the Terps were abusing the Seminoles down low, where sophomore forward Chris Wilcox (15 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks) made jumpers, hook shots and dunks. Lonny Baxter added 14 points and eight rebounds, while Tahj Holden and Ryan Randle brought more beef to hammer the undersized Seminoles.

The first 10 minutes were ugly, as each team turned up the defensive heat and forced the other to shoot poorly. Florida State opened in a 3-for-16 funk, while the Terps missed 15 of their first 18 shots and trailed 11-6 with 10:28 left in the half.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.