Scores

Final

(24) Maryland 75

(7-3, 0-1 ACC)

Florida St 79

(11-1, 1-0 ACC)

    5:30 PM ET, December 28, 2003

    Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Florida

    1 2 T
    #24MD 36 3975
    FSU 37 4279

    Johnson ignites FSU with dunk

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Second-year Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton may have found his answer for winning in the Atlantic Coast Conference: A couple of freshmen.

    First-year players Alexander Johnson and Von Wafer took charge during a 16-2 second-half run Sunday, and Florida State bounced back from their only loss with a 79-75 victory over 24th-ranked Maryland.

    Johnson's ferocious dunk gave the Seminoles a 57-56 lead with 8:48 left as they snapped a five-game losing streak against Maryland dating back to the 1999-2000 season.

    "That was a huge play," Hamilton said. "It gave our team a lift and excited the crowd and our team seemed to feed off that."

    Moments later, Wafer sank a 3-point shot from deep in the corner as Florida State built a 65-58 lead during the decisive spurt that wiped out a five-point deficit early in the half.

    Johnson led Florida State with 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting while Wafer added 11 with a 4-for-7 night that included a pair of 3's.

    "They're learning what it's like to play at this level," Hamilton said.

    The 6-foot-10, 245-pound Johnson's dunk impressed his older teammates as well.

    "I though the goal was going to break, he's so strong," said Tim Pickett, who fed Johnson for the dunk.

    Florida State (11-1, 1-0) blew a 14-point lead early in the game and fell behind 56-51 in the second half before the Seminoles' run gave them a 67-58 lead with 6:20 left.

    Wafer and Nate Johnson hit successive 3-point shots during the spurt to help the Seminoles win their first conference opener in four seasons.

    Pickett scored 13, all in the second half. The Seminoles started the season with 10 straight wins before losing 63-56 to Pittsburgh last Monday.

    Nik Caner-Medley, John Gilchrist and Chris McCray all scored 15 points for Maryland.

    Maryland (7-3, 0-1) were 44 percent (29-for-66) from the field, but shot poorly from the free throw line, especially in the second half when the Terps went only 5-for-11.

    Michael Joiner and Mike Mathews combined for 13 points in the opening minutes when Florida State jumped out to an 18-4 lead, but Maryland scrambled back and tied the game at 30-all.

    But the early deficit hurt the Terrapins.

    "We paid the price," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "When you get down 18-4, you're going to lose something to get back."

    The Seminoles led 37-36 at the half even though Pickett and Anthony Richardson, their top two scorers, were held scoreless.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    2003-04 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Dec 28, 2003 @FSU 79, MD 75Recap
    Feb 8, 2004 @MD 73, FSU 62Recap