It's no secret that rebounding has been a challenge for the Florida State men's basketball team since virtually the start of the season.
“I think I've been over-pressuring myself because it hasn't been working," FSU forward Okaro White said of his desire to get more rebounds.
And it figures to only get tougher from here on out.
FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said Tuesday that he doesn't expect forward Terrance Shannon to return from a neck injury any time soon – “at all,” he said. It doesn't help that FSU's Wedndesday night opponent, the Maryland Terrapins (8 p.m., ESPN3) often rely on offensive rebounds and second-chance points.
“We've been addressing those things all year long,” Hamilton said. “It's not like we haven't put the bubble on the goal where the ball won't go in. We've been doing block-out drills. We've concentrated on it. We've just got to play the guys who know want to rebound.
“We're at the stage now where you've either got to deliver or not.”
FSU has been beaten on the boards in 14 of 19 games and haven't outrebounded an opponent since their 82-69 victory over Tulsa on Dec. 29.
Shannon's rebounding numbers aren't eye-popping – he had been grabbing a pedestrian 6.3 per game – but they were still the best FSU had to offer.
His eight rebounds in Florida State's last meeting with Maryland helped spark the Seminoles to a 65-62 victory after they trailed by 12 in the second half.
In Shannon's absence, junior forward Okaro White, whose 5.7 rebounds per game are second on the team, admitted that he's been placing more responsibility on himself to produce on the boards.
“I've been thinking about it and pressuring myself a lot,” White said. “I think I've been over-pressuring myself because it hasn't been working. I've only been getting a couple rebounds. I think if I don't worry about it and play, I'll collect the rebounds.”
Complicating matters is that Maryland's 43 rebounds per game are best in the nation, and they average almost 14 offensive boards per game as well.
The Terrapins (15-5, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) are in need of a win almost as badly as FSU. Fress off a 84-64 loss at Duke, Maryland has lost four of its last six games, a stretch that dates back to the Seminoles' win that snapped a 14-game winning streak.
“Right now, we're challenging our guys to elevate their focus and concentration,” Hamilton said, “because this is a team that lives and dies with their ability to get second shots and making life miserable for you on the boards.”