Since it opened in 2002, Florida State had never beaten Maryland at Comcast Center. And with the Terrapins headed to the Big Ten, Wednesday night's game possibly could have been FSU's last chance.
Thanks to Okaro White's heroics scoring 15 consecutive points in the second half, the Seminoles made that last chance a good one in beating Maryland 65-62.
Not only did the Seminoles notch their first ever win at the Comcast Center, it was also the first time that for the first time in Florida State history the team has started 2-0 in ACC conference play.
Starting off the game sluggishly on offense in the first half, FSU found itself down by as many as twelve points as the 'Noles could just not find the bottom of the basket. At one point the Seminoles were just 16% from the floor.
The only thing that kept FSU in the game was defense forcing Maryland (13-2, 1-1) into numerous turnovers. By the half, Maryland had accumulated 11 of it 18 turnovers.
When down by double digits in the first half, the rule of thumb is just try to get it to single digits. FSU accomplished that with yet another buzzer beater of the season, this time by Ian Miller. The three pointer closed the gap to 36-27 heading into intermission.
In the second half White's offense and defense were the story.
It was Maryland's first true test going against a team with the size of Florida State. And the Terps were actually kind of looking forward to it, thinking it would be a favorable match up for them in allowing their star forward Alex Len to work more one on one.
It didn't quite work out that way as the Seminoles put on a block party, mainly from White who had six stuffs, with Boris Bojanovsky adding four. As a team, FSU finished with a season high 13 blocked shots.
Miller's three point play off the layup in transition plus the foul drew FSU to within one point, 43-42.
The Seminoles had ten chances after that to take the lead, only to not take advantage of the opportunity. Notable in the string of missed chances was Terrance Shannon's four straight missed free throws.
Still there was that defense that was forcing more Maryland turnovers or missed shots and the differential remained just one point.
On the eleventh opportunity White started an incredible string of 15 straight points for the Seminoles. Using his athleticism and speed, all of White's points came from near or point blank range, save for two free throws.
When he was finished, FSU led 57-51 with 2:31 to play.
After Michael Snaer's layup to make it 59-51 with 1:04 to play forcing Maryland to call its final timeout, Terrapin fans headed for the doors.
That was a bit premature as the Terps made it very interesting in the final minute.
Len's slam dunk was followed by a three by Seth Allen from the left wing making the score 59-56.
Snaer added two free throws only to see Bojanovsky make one of the few defensive mistakes he made in the game in fouling Allen on the made layup.
With nineteen seconds left and up just by two, Maryland immediately fouled Devon Bookert who had played sparingly to that point in the game. Bookert confidently made his only two points of the game, upping the score to 63-59.
Just to make it really interesting Nick Faust canned a three from the right corner with ten seconds left to make in a one point game, 63-62.
Snaer was fouled on the inbound play but could only make one of two. The senior guard made up for it though by blocking Allen's three ball attempt on the ensuing possession.
White finished out the scoring with one of two from the stripe.
Leonard Hamilton clearly was pleased by his team's performance in beating a tough opponent on the road in a place they had never experienced victory before.
"We met a very big challenge tonight," Hamilton said. "We rose to the occasion and was more aggressive in the second half, I thought."
Hamilton specifically mentioned the contributions of several of his players and as you would expect talked more about their defensive performance.
"Montay Brandon's defense was excellent. Terrance Shannon gave us a defensive lift. Boris and his four blocks was physical and aggressive inside. Okaro White came to play. And while he didn't put up the stats I thought Kiel Turpin gave us a great deal of energy. Even Michael Ojo contributed with a very important blocked shot for us."
"Everybody who played gave something."
After getting off to a good start with Maryland shooting their average of 50%, the Seminoles' defense clamped down allowing the Terps to shoot just 36% for the game.
This was more like the Seminole defense FSU fans are used to seeing over the last five years and a dramatic improvement from the start of the season.
Hamilton reiterated there were no adjustments to his defensive philosophy.
"We have been teaching the same defensive principles for 10 to 15 years now. It just takes a while to remember it."
"The team is learning that they need each other," Hamilton added.
White with his 16 points in the second half finished with 20. Snaer with 10 in the second period had 15, and Miller ended with 12 points.
The Seminoles (10-5, 2-0) finally return home on Saturday after nearly a month on the road to face the North Carolina Tar Heels for a 2 PM tip off.