ACC Memories: A loss to Florida State that sparked a run to the Final Four

Streeter Lecka

A loss to Florida State at Cole Field House was rock bottom for a team with high expectations. But that loss turned around a season that ultimately led to the school's first Final Four appearance.

With Maryland finishing their last season in the ACC, we will be reviewing some of the most important and memorable ACC games involving Maryland. Today, Dave talks about Florida State.

The date was February 14, 2001. Maryland entered their game against Florida State at Cole Field House having lost their last two games. At the time, they were ranked 17th and were hoping to rebound against a Florida State team that had won just six games and lost eight of their previous nine.

Gary Williams had done a wonderful job of getting Maryland out of the dark ages, but people were beginning to wonder if he could get the Terps over the hump in the NCAA tournament. After making it to the big dance for seven straight years, fans wanted to see Maryland playing in the Elite Eight and Final Four. The expectations were higher and the 2000-2001 team was expected by many to be the one that finally broke through and put the Terps back among the nation's elite.

Maryland began the season ranked 6th nationally, led by Terence Morris, who had decided to return for his senior year in College Park. But after winning their first game, Maryland dropped their next two games while playing in the Maui Invitational. A week later, they traveled to Wisconsin for the ACC-B1G Challenge, where they fell to the Badgers by three. After that disappointing 1-3 start, Maryland rebounded to win their next 10 straight before dropping a game at home to North Carolina. After winning three more, Maryland was preparing to face 2nd ranked Duke in College Park.

The Miracle Minute game left Maryland fans pulling their hair out and with students rioting on Route 1. The Terps then lost at Virginia before returning home to beat Clemson. But they then dropped their next two games on the road to Georgia Tech and UNC before returning back to Cole to face Florida State.

Against Florida State, Steve Blake and Lonny Baxter both fouled out, Juan Dixon was held to 14 points, and the Noles out rebounded Maryland as they won 74-71. The boos rained down from the Cole crowd immediately after the game ended.

It was the low point in what was a very up and down season for Maryland. But Gary Williams was able to get his team to rally and knock out six straight wins before again falling to Duke. But in the NCAA tournament, Maryland advanced to their first Final Four in program history, defeating #1 Seed Stanford to win the West Region.

The Florida State win was the low of what was an up and down season, but it helped turn around a team that entered the year with aspirations of getting to the Final Four. That loss was the catalyst that helped them get there and to their first National Championship the following season.

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