Heels Leave Terps Reeling

Will Bowers and D.J. Strawberry try to cut off North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough in College Park. (Joshua Roberts - Reuters)
Will Bowers and D.J. Strawberry try to cut off North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough in College Park. (Joshua Roberts - Reuters)
By Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 3, 2006

Maryland did not have a problem protecting the ball last night or slowing Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina's standout freshman. What bothered Maryland Coach Gary Williams most about his team's 77-62 loss was something more fundamental.

"I was disgusted with how we competed," Williams said.

He remained in the locker room with his team for 20 minutes after the loss, one of the more disappointing of the season, but no words could make up for the opportunities that were lost.

Gone was the chance for Williams to become Maryland's all-time winningest coach at home against one of the nation's storied programs.

And gone was the chance to capture a fifth ACC victory before reaching the halfway mark of the conference schedule this weekend. The Terps (14-6, 4-3 ACC) now must beat No. 18 North Carolina State on the road Sunday to avoid a three-game losing streak.

This was not last year's Tar Heels, who won the national title with a roster laden with future pros. This was a youthful, turnover-prone North Carolina team that withstood the hostile atmosphere of Comcast Center and the particularly raucous crowd of 17,950.

Maryland point guard D.J. Strawberry described the Tar Heels (13-5, 4-3) as a team that "knows they are good." When asked to describe his own team, Strawberry said, "Sometimes we play like we know we're good, and sometimes we play like we don't know what is going on.

"We have to get up for this game, and we just did not do it."

Williams felt his team's attitude was most evident in the rebounding battle, which North Carolina dominated, 52-34. In spite of the lopsided margin, it looked like Maryland had the type of game it wanted at halftime.

The Terps, after committing a total of 45 turnovers in two games last week, had only four at the break last night. They finished with 12; backup point guard Sterling Ledbetter showed promise with five assists and no turnovers.

But in the game's final 15 minutes, Maryland's half-court offense unraveled. The Terps shot only 26.5 percent in the second half.

In all, the Terps made only 3 of 16 three-pointers and 9 of 17 free throws in the game. Strawberry and Mike Jones missed critical opportunities from the line in the final minutes.

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