COLLEGE PARK--Maryland sophomore guard Seth Allen did the exact opposite of what he was supposed to do. Already in a rhythm with 13 points and 5:49 to play in the first half against Florida State on Saturday at Comcast Center, he forced one.
He admits it now. It was a bad shot. It was a heat check from 22 feet out on the left wing and it was blocked by Seminole guard Aaron Thomas. But Thomas hit Allen on the elbow on his follow-through, gifting the sophomore with three free throws.
“He really bailed be out,” Allen said after Maryland’s 83-71 win over Florida State before a smile crept across his face. “Because if I had missed that, I would have probably gotten in trouble.”
Allen would hit all three free throws and instead of that bad shot stopping his train in its tracks, that train kept rolling on its way to a career-high 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the floor and 7-of-10 from behind the arc.
That included a double-clutch jumper in the first half, having gotten stuck in the air while looking to pass only throw up a shot that found a way to fall, if only by virtue of the type of night he was having.
“After that, I felt like I could make anything,” he said.
It pleased Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, as well, who needed a performance like that from someone to ensure there would not be a repeat of the 24-point loss the Terrapins suffered at the hands of the Seminoles last month.
“That was a pretty high level,” Turgeon said of Allen’s outing. “There was a couple times in the second half where he just made some incredible shots.
“When we weren’t really doing very well and we were just kind of hanging in there and he’d just raise up and hit two really tough threes.”
Put the scoring aside for a moment, though, because that’s not the only way Allen made an impact on Saturday afternoon. His ability to get to the rim and even present the threat of a three-point shooter spaced the floor for others.
That indirectly helped to lead Dez Wells to 15 points and Jake Layman to 12 more, along with a rough-and-tumble eight from forward Charles Mitchell.
On one sequence close to four minutes through the second half, Allen drove the lane with the shot clock running under eight seconds before passing up a contested layup and finding Wells on the wing for an open three, which he would hit and extend Maryland’s lead to 18 points, 53-35.
“The basketball gods are going to reward you,” Allen said, citing a phrase used often by Maryland assistant Bino Ranson. “So, when I passed up shots, they kind of came back to me.”
Even so, Turgeon maintains that this is still not the same Seth Allen that he was blown away by before the start of the season. It has been Turgeon’s mantra since Allen underwent surgery to repair a broken foot on Oct. 31.
You should have seen him before the injury. You should have seen him before the injury. You should have seen him before the injury.
“He’s getting closer [to full strength],” Turgeon said. “When he’s making shots, he guards better too. That helps.”
The question now for Allen is consistency, who followed a strong game against Virginia Tech last weekend with a less-than-efficient 11 points on 13 shots against UNC.
This is another--and by far Allen’s biggest uptick--but Virginia awaits on the horizon Monday night in Charlottesville.