Feb. 14, 2001
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Florida State had let a 12-point lead dwindle to
one, and Delvon Arrington was getting that sinking feeling again.
“I got scared. We always seem to let leads go,” he said.
Not this time. Led by Arrington, the Seminoles withstood a furious comeback
bid by No. 17 Maryland for a stunning 74-71 victory Wednesday night.
The Seminoles had lost nine straight to Maryland and began the game in last
place in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but they never trailed after taking a
Florida State (7-17, 2-9) led by 12 early in the second half, yet Maryland
had several chances to tie or take the lead in the closing minutes. After two
foul shots by the Seminoles’ Antwuan Dixon made it 74-71 with 16 seconds left,
Maryland (15-9, 6-6) missed two 3-pointers before the buzzer sounded.
“I was just so relieved,” said Arrington, who scored 17 points. “I’ve
never won a game at Maryland. I’m at a loss for words.”
The Seminoles in recent games had lost to North Carolina State in overtime,
faded in a nine-point defeat at Georgia Tech and rallied before losing to Wake
“This time we did it for 40 minutes. Not 25, not 30, like we usually do,”
Dixon scored 14 for Florida State and Adrian Crawford had 11.
“We played close in a number of games this year. It seemed in those games
we were never able to make the play when it mattered the most,” Seminoles
coach Steve Robinson said. “Tonight was one of those nights where we got it.
We got it.”
Juan Dixon scored 14 points for the Terrapins, but missed eight of 11 shots
and had six turnovers. Freshman forward Chris Wilcox, making his first college
start, scored 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting.
The Terrapins have lost five of six, the lone win in that span against
last-place Clemson. The tumble began with an overtime loss to Duke in which
Maryland blew a 10-point lead in the final 54 seconds of regulation.
“You have to look at the Duke game. From there we haven’t been able to get
it back,” coach Gary Williams said. “We were playing great, and we lost the
game. We haven’t been able to pull out of that.”
Antwuan Dixon opened the second half with a three-point play to put Florida
State ahead 36-24. Wilcox then made three straight baskets, and minutes later
his layup off a steal cut the margin to three points.
Crawford responded with a three-point play to start an 11-4 spurt that made
it 53-43 with 10:18 left. The lead dwindled to four before the Seminoles’ Mike
Mathews temporarily stalled the comeback with a dunk and a foul shot.
Maryland’s hopes dimmed when center Lonny Baxter fouled out with 5:22 left
and the Seminoles up 64-59. But the Terrapins scored their next six points at
the line to close to 66-65.
Florida State was up for the challenge.
FSU took control early as Arrington scored seven straight points in a 12-2
run that made it 14-5 with less than six minutes elapsed. After a timeout,
Williams pulled all his starters except for Wilcox.
The move did not pay off. After Byron Mouton hit a 3-pointer, the Terrapins
went cold and trailed 19-8 before Williams used another timeout and went back
to his original lineup.
That didn’t work either, and many in the crowd booed after the Seminoles
took advantage of Maryland’s sloppy play to go up 25-14. At that point, the
Terrapins had nine turnovers and missed 16 of 22 shots.
“We didn’t lose the game in the second half. We lost the game in the first
half,” Williams said. “We let Florida State get out to the lead and gain
confidence. We weren’t able to come out with the intensity level to match