TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ——Alex Len got the ball on the wing and hesitated. Then Maryland's 7-foot-1 center took off toward the lane with surprising ease and coordination.
Unfortunately for Maryland, Len's second-half drive and layup was his only field goal in Florida State's 84-70 victory Tuesday night in Tallahassee.
While the basket showed a glimmer of Len's versatility, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon suggested he will need much more from the Ukrainian now that the team's schedule has gotten more challenging.
Turgeon said he can't coax Len — who got into foul trouble Tuesday night — into shooting enough. It's an issue he has also had with point guard Pe'Shon Howard and, to a lesser extent, senior swingman Sean Mosley.
Against the Seminoles, leading scorer Terrell Stoglin took twice as many shots (17) as any other Terp, finishing with 27 points.
Maryland (12-5, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) next plays Temple on Saturday at Philadelphia's Palestra.
Len scored in double figures in his first four games and regularly got to the foul line. He scored five points in his fifth game, against Wake Forest. But then he seemed to disappear. He went scoreless against Georgia Tech on just three shots and had three points on 1-for-2 shooting against Florida State.
It's clear that Len — who hasn't been made available to the media while his English improves — is still learning. The Education of Alex Len, his season might be called.
Against Georgia Tech, Len was called once for goaltending and once for offensive basket interference. Turgeon has said the player is still learning the difference between American and European rules regarding such plays at or above the rim.
On Tuesday night, Len faced a formidable front court led by 6-foot-10 shot blocker Bernard James. James said afterward that Len was mobile and athletic, but that Maryland's other front-court players were more physical with him.
Len blocked James' first shot of the game. But James got the rebound and dunked for the first of his 17 points and six rebounds.
Maryland led briefly at 42-40. "I thought in the first half we competed a little after we got over the shock of how big and strong they were," Turgeon said.
But the Seminoles made a second-half run keyed by two Deividas Dulkys 3-pointers, and the Terps could not keep pace.