Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon will still reference it from time to time, how well sophomore guard Seth Allen was playing when no one was watching, progressing over the summer before a foot injury struck days before the start of the 2013-14 season.
He was in the best shape of his college career. He was explosive. He was dynamic.
But Allen’s return to full strength was a series of ups and downs before a masterful performance on Feb. 8 at Comcast Center against Florida State when he dropped a career-high 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the floor.
This wasn’t a one-time, joyous return to preseason form for Allen. It had a bit to do with that, but it had more to do with something much more replicable which, for Maryland’s sake, is a positive.
The system. It was clicking.
“The great thing about that night is … almost every shot came out of our offense,” Turgeon said this week. “And that’s what when we were watching the film afterwards with him and showing him how it came out of this play or that play or out of what we were running or a guy penetrating and pitching … that was the best part.”
The 83-71 win for Maryland on that day avenged the blowout loss that the Terrapins suffered at the hands of the Seminoles close to one month prior. On that day, Maryland allowed 16-of-24 shooting from three-point range and lost by 24 points.
Turgeon says it was the lone time his team has been "embarrassed" this season.
So now Maryland has seen both sides of its coin when it comes to Florida State, which it faces on Thursday in the ACC tournament. The Terrapins will likely have to run the table if it has any hope of advancing to the NCAA tournament.
Much responsibility will fall on Allen, who hit the same highs and lows against Florida State as his team did this season. Those 32 points in the second meeting between the two teams contrasts starkly with his first time out when he scored one point and was 0-of-8 from the field.
Turgeon stresses the importance of a structured offense, which was on display the second time around.
“That’s why offensively it was [Allen’s] best game since he’s been here because he let the game come to him and he made some tough shots,” Turgeon said. “I’m sure they’re going to try to guard him differently in this game and be aware of him. As long as he continues to do things out of the offense, we’ll all be happy.”
Against Florida State, a team with size and length, manufacturing good shots from the perimeter and converting will stretch the Seminoles defense. That, in turn, opens up driving lanes for Allen, Dez Wells, and others.
“It’s a constant battle with him. He’s still learning how to play, learning the game and learning situations,” Turgeon said of Allen. “It’s a process and it continues to get better.
Maryland faces Florida State on Thursday at noon in Greensboro, N.C.