Seth Allen Propels Maryland Terrapins to Critical ACC Triumph

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Playing in just his 12th game of the season, Maryland sophomore guard Seth Allen had far and away his best game of the campaign Saturday afternoon, scoring 32 points in 35 minutes to lead the Terrapins to an impressive 83-71 victory over the Florida State Seminoles in College Park, Md. Allen went 11-for-15 from the field, including 7-for-10 from three-point range, as the Terrapins improved to 14-10 overall and, more importantly, 6-5 in the ACC. Aaron Thomas led Florida State (14-9, 5-6) with 17 points.

Allen, a 6-foot-1 backcourt player from Woodbridge, Va., hadn’t previously scored more than 18 points in a game this season, and that was in Maryland’s 20-point loss at Pittsburgh on Jan. 6. Allen entered Saturday’s game averaging 10.5 points per game, and there wasn’t anything to indicate he was going to go off in the manner that he did. When the teams met earlier this season at Florida State, Allen scored just one point and missed all eight of his shots in the Seminoles’ 85-61 blowout.

Allen made sure early on Saturday that this meeting with Florida State would be different, hitting his first three-pointer in the opening minutes and finishing the first half with 21 points — already a season-high. Maryland led by 17 at that point and the Terrapins were never seriously threatened the rest of the game. Allen’s seven three-pointers were two more than that made by the entire Florida State team (5-for-12).

Allen’s breakout performance couldn’t have come at a more critical time for Maryland. The Terrapins badly needed a win Saturday to get above .500 in the conference headed into one of their tougher stretches of the college basketball season. On Monday night, Maryland visits 20th-ranked Virginia for its first matchup with the rival Cavaliers this season. Next Saturday, Maryland is at 11th-ranked Duke, the final regular-season installment of one of the ACC’s greatest rivalries over the last 15 years. After a home game with Wake Forest, Maryland welcomes top-ranked and undefeated Syracuse to the Comcast Center on Feb. 18.

To stay afloat for a decent seeding in the ACC Tournament, Maryland had to beat Florida State Saturday and Allen was the major reason the Terrapins got it done. Now, Maryland has to get similar efforts from players like Dez Wells if it’s going to compete against the elite conference teams it will be facing over the next two weeks, especially given the level of defense typically played by Virginia and Syracuse. With 10 losses overall already, an NCAA Tournament bid is probably already gone, but if Maryland wants a respectable finish to its life in the ACC, the rest of the team would be wise to follow Allen’s lead from Saturday’s win.

Ed Morgans is an ACC Basketball Writer for Follow him on Twitter @writered21 and add him to your network on Google.