Ernest Graham swished a 12-foot jumper from the lane with six seconds left in the second overtime to give Maryland an 82-81 upset of eighth-ranked North Carolina State at Reynolds Coliseum tonight.
De Matha graduate Hawkeye Whitney missed a desperation 18-footer at the buzzer as the Wolfpack lost its first game at home since last Jan. 14.
State now has twice lost to Maryland, dipping to 0-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 11-3 overall. The Terrapins rebounded from their home defeat to Wake Forest, upping their marks to 2-1 in the ACC and 11-3 overall. Graham led all scorers with 24 points, giving him a two-game total of 68 against State this season.
There were two distinct and equally enthralling games played tonight. One, which encompassed just over 36 minutes, was a see-saw, run-and-shoot affair with 13 lead changes. The rest was a four-corner slowdown.
After Clyde (the Glide) Austin hit two free throws to draw State into a 76-76 tie, neither team was able to score for a minute, and State held the ball for the last shot, beginning a stall at 3:43.
The Pack ran a masterful, moving stall and then inexplicably Austin took a 30-footer, missing at the buzzer.
The jump-ball rule, which alternates possessions on jumps after the initial tipoff, gave the ball to State in the first overtime and the Pack again stalled. By this time, Maryland was playing without center Larry Gibson, who fouled out with 20 points in regulation time, and forward Buck Williams, who was handcuffed with four fouls.
Tiny Pinder, State's high scorer with 23 points, missed a 12-footer at 2:50 and Donnie Perkins rebounded for State. The Pack stalled again and Perkins missed an 18-footer with one second left.
Williams rebounded for Maryland but Dutch Morley's lob pass was intercepted by Austin, sending the doings into a second overtime.
This time, it was Maryland's ball and after 50 seconds of four corners, Williams took a Morley pass and hit from the baseline for a 78-76 lead.
Less than a minute later, Tony Warren tied it again, hitting from the circle, but Al King put Maryland up again with a jumper from the lane for two of his 15 points. That made it 80-78 with 31 seconds left.
State stared into Maryland's 3-2 zone, looking for a good shot and found a great one -- Austin flipping a pass from the wing to Pinder underneath for a basket to tie it at 80 with 19 seconds left. King went up with Pinder and tried to block the shot, was called for a foul, and Pinder bounced in the free throw from the front of the rim for an 81-80 lead after Maryland tried to rattle him with two timeouts.
Maryland brought up the ball against State's press, but the play designed to go to King never materialized. Suddenly Graham was in the air, the shot was up and right through.
"It went in. That's all," said Graham.
"We were trying to get the ball in to Albert or call a timeout," said Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell, "but Ernest just went one on one and hit it. It was our night, I guess."
"Some players," said State Coach Norm Sloan, "just feel they can play well against certain teams. David Thompson was like that against Maryland. Just like on some golf holes, you always play them well. I don't know, really, why Ernest Graham plays like that against us. Maybe he can tell us."
Graham said he plays better against better competition. He hit 11 of 18 shots from the floor and both his free throws, offsetting the surprising performance of Pinder, who scored just two free throws against Maryland in their first meeting.
This was the second game State lost after going to the four corners, the other being a defeat to Duke in the Big Four tournament. Pinder's layup was the only high-percentage shot the Pack was able to milk from the four corners. The rest came from outside, and Austin's 30-foot miss at the buzzer apparently was a miscalculation.
"We gave the signal at 10 seconds," said Slaon. "It wasn't anything Maryland did defensively. It was more that we didn't do the things we whould. We work on those situations over and over in practice."