Maryland Terrapins clobber North Carolina Tar Heels in College Park

By Steve Yanda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 8, 2010

It took one 93-second stretch on Sunday afternoon for the Maryland men's basketball team to settle a two-sided matter that had been brewing in College Park for the previous few snow-drenched days: Could North Carolina be that bad? Could the Terrapins be that good?

Maryland's 92-71 win suggested that the answer to both was a resounding yes. The Terrapins spent most of their day at Comcast Center dispatching the threats North Carolina periodically posed to their lead and eventually pulled away for a definitive victory. Consequently, Maryland (16-6, 6-2) remained near the top of the ACC standings, and the Tar Heels sunk ever closer to the basement.

With just less than 13 minutes remaining, North Carolina guard Marcus Ginyard (Bishop O'Connell) made a free throw to cut Maryland's lead to four. But over the next minute and a half the Terrapins erased any doubt as to the game's outcome. In a flurry of possessions, Dino Gregory sank a jumper, Eric Hayes drilled a fast-break three-pointer, and Greivis Vasquez scored off a Hayes steal.

Jordan Williams came up with a steal on the following North Carolina possession and fed the ball to Adrian Bowie, who was fouled out of frustration, if nothing else. The Terrapins entered an ensuing media timeout up 11. Williams pounded his chest to the delight of a delirious, student-heavy crowd.

Vasquez finished with a game-high 26 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. Hayes tallied 16 points on 4 of 5 shooting from three-point range. Senior forward Landon Milbourne registered 15 points to become the 49th player in program history to record 1,000 career points.

North Carolina played like a team in dire need of a victory, which -- surprisingly, given the Tar Heels' recent grasp on the top spot in the conference -- was exactly what it was. The Tar Heels entered Comcast Center riding a two-game losing streak. This season, North Carolina (13-10, 2-6) is just talented enough to remain competitive in most games it plays and just inexperienced enough to lack the continuity necessary to win a closely contested affair.

True to their form this season, the Terrapins established control from the game's outset. Maryland made 9 of 16 three-pointers (56.3 percent) and clamped down as much as possible on North Carolina's primary offensive threats, forwards Deon Thompson and Ed Davis. The Tar Heels prefer high-possession ball games, and they got their wish -- and their fair share of points.

But North Carolina could not match Maryland's offensive efficiency, nor could they garner any of the good fortune that seems to accompany teams on hot streaks. The Terrapins' lead ebbed and flowed during the first half, but they never lost the ability to put together a quick surge whenever the Tar Heels edged to within a few points. Hayes shot 3 for 4 from three-point range to buoy Maryland throughout the opening period.

With just less than a minute remaining in the first half, Vasquez drove into the lane and had his shot blocked by North Carolina forward John Henson. Vasquez recovered the ball and attempted a three-pointer from the wing that clanged off the rim.

But Vasquez, who tallied 14 points and six assists in the first half alone, tracked down the loose ball once again. His third attempt of the possession -- a three-pointer near the top of the key -- fell through the net. Maryland entered halftime with a 10-point lead.

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