March 8, 2002
By JENNA FRYER
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Chris Wilcox was the first to admit he played poorly. Luckily for second-ranked Maryland, plenty of his teammates stepped up.
The Terrapins turned to their reserves for a much-needed second-half spark Friday and pulled away to beat Florida State 85-59 in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals.
“I had a terrible game, I just stunk out there,” said Wilcox, who averages 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds but finished with just four points and eight boards Friday.
“I felt bad that I let my teammates down, but they picked me up on the bench, and Tajh Holden and Ryan Randle picked it up for me on the floor.”
The Terrapins (26-3) squandered a 12-point lead at the start of the second half to let eighth-seeded Florida State (12-17) briefly make it an uncomfortably close game.
Wilcox was benched during a timeout. Holden replaced him and teamed with Randle to give Maryland energy during a 21-0 second-half run that put the Seminoles away.
“For whatever reason, it took us a long time to get moving,” Maryland coach Gary Williams said. “We needed two timeouts to stop Florida State’s run and then we raised it up 10 to 15 percent in terms of our activity. Holden gave us that energy we needed to get moving and Ryan helped, too.”
Maryland, outright ACC regular-season champions for the first time since 1980, moved into the tournament semifinals for the eighth straight year. On Saturday, the Terrapins face the winner of Virginia-North Carolina State.
Juan Dixon scored 20 points, and Byron Mouton added 18 to lead Maryland, but all the praise went to Holden, who had four points in 15 minutes, and Randle, who added six points in 11 minutes.
“We were lacking energy, and my job is to come in and give us a lift, to play hard and jump after rebounds and run after loose balls,” Holden said. “That’s all guys like me and Ryan do and it’s fine. Ten or so years down the road, it won’t matter what our role was as long as we have national championship rings.”
Robinson said he planned to meet with Florida State athletic director Dave Hart next week. The coach wouldn’t speculate on his future.
“The most disappointing part of ending a season is ending the season,” Robinson said. “After you’ve been with guys a long time, it’s tough to see them leave.”
The Seminoles, who needed overtime to beat Clemson 91-84 in Thursday night’s opening game, tired late and shot just 30 percent against Maryland while committing 19 turnovers.
Maryland looked in control of things early and took a 40-28 lead into halftime.
But Cummings scored 10 straight points to pull the Seminoles back and Florida State cut it to 42-41 when Trevor Harvey scored on a driving basket and was fouled.
After Harvey made the free throw, Williams called a timeout and benched Wilcox, who had just two points and five rebounds at the time and had thrown the ball away and missed a layup during Florida State’s rally.
Holden came in and Maryland’s defense improved after the timeout. The Terps scored 21 unanswered points, forced seven turnovers and held Florida State scoreless for 7:14 in a dominating stretch that put Maryland in control of the game.
By the time Holden scored on a follow that made it 63-41 with 9:10 to play, Williams decided Wilcox had suffered long enough and sent him back in the game.
Wilcox responded with a rebound on an agonizing possession for the Seminoles, in which the ball rolled around the rim at least three times while several Seminoles failed to tip it in.
“It’s always a quick turnaround and I tried to con and convince them that it’s OK,” Robinson said. “And for about 25 minutes, I thought we gave ourselves every chance.
“Then Maryland had its stretch and it was all over.”