Reprinted from yesterday's late edition.
Maryland forward Steve Sheppard climaxed a gutty performance tonight by sinking a 15-foot jump shot with three seconds to play, lifting the Terps to a 75-73 comeback victory over North Carolina State.
Sheppard wanted to sit out this Atlantic Coast Conference game and rest his painful strained left Achilles tendon. But he told coach Lefty Driesell he would play if needed; Driesell told Sheppard, "Let me know when you're ready."
When State whipped out to a 17-2 lead, Sheppard said, "Let me go in." Driesell did and the Terps fell behind by two more points. By the time the Maryland captain dropped his winning points, he had accumulated 18 points and nine rebounds.
"This was a big one, one of the best wins I've ever had," said Sheppard. "I couldn't believe it."
Some of Sheppard's teammates couldn't even believe he played. "I was very psyched when he came in," said Brad Davis, who directed the Maryland offense well in the second half. "I didn't think he'd play."
Sheppard's leg was so painful, he said, that he wobbled on it at times and could not shoot his jump shot normally. Twice in the second half, he fell, got up limping badly grimaced, obviously in pain.
Maryland center Larry Gibson, who played well again tonight following two awful games as he worried about making up some classwork, said:
"The man was hurt. I asked him, 'Do you want to go out?' He shaked his head and said, 'No I'm okay.'"
Some big offensive rebounds, especially after 7-foot-1 State center Glenn Sudhop fouled out, helped set the state for Sheppard's winning shot. It followed a State time out after Kenny Carr's two free throws, the last of the all-America's 26 points.
When time resumed, Maryland went to its spread offense.
"I wanted to let Brad penetrate and see what happened," said Driesell.
"I just wanted to run the clock down," said Davis, "be patient and make sure we got the final shot at the basket."
"Brad just saw me," said Sheppard, who was standing a few feet up from the left baseline. "I heard a whistle. I wasn't going to shoot it. Then I saw a hand in my face and I did."
By the time State called its final time out, two seconds remained on the clock. The Reynolds Coliseum crowd of 12,400 watched Carr take the in-bounds pass, dribble once and pass to Tony Warren, who made the shot after time expired.
The partisan crowd thought the shot was good, but State coach Norman Sloan had no doubts. "You don't have time with two seconds left to put the ball on the floor and pass off," he said.
If there were any thoughts that this Maryland team would fold following its losses last week to Clemson and North Carolina, the comeback tonight alleviated most fears.
It was only the fourth loss for State in 59 home games, and Maryland has administered three of them. The Wolfpack displayed some atrocious foul shooting down the stretch, missing six of eight in eight possessions, including four of four by Al Green.
But Maryland had the patience at the end of this game - the Terps committed only four of their 22 turnovers in the game's final 17 minutes.
Maryland's young team is now 2-3 in the ACC and 13-4 overall. The Terps played some of the league's toughest and most veteran teams early. In their final seven league games, they play sixth-place Duke and seventh-place Virginia twice each.
But, playmaker Davis was cautious, while extremely happy, about the Terps' first road win this season.
None of the Terps, or Driesell, could say too much about Sheppard, the Bear, as he is known.
"I said early in the game," observed reserve guard Brian Magid, who came off the bench and put in 14 useful minutes in Jo Jo Hunter's place, "this team just doesn't look the same without Bear in there. It's not how we were playing; he's just a fixture."