It was after the first Maryland timeout, with six seconds left Wednesday night, when Coach Lefty Driesell shocked nearly everybody in Carmichael Auditorium, including North Carolina, by putting his son Chuck into the game with the Terrapins trailing, 72-71.

Chuck, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, had played 28 minutes this season, never in a meaningful situation.

Even North Carolina Coach Dean Smith was surprised. He told Michael Jordan, who would be guarding Chuck man to man, not to go near him.

And for a split second, nobody in a Carolina blue uniform went near Driesell. Then he drove the base line and went up for what could have been the game-winning layup, but was blocked (his body and the ball) by 6-foot-9 Sam Perkins and the 6-5 Jordan, who came from the top of the key. The clock expired, and Maryland lost its upset chance.

It was nearly a stroke of genius by Lefty Driesell.

But why? Why did he use his son then, when he won't use him in the first half of a game against, say, William and Mary?

"Because," Driesell said after the game, "we run that play in practice, with two or three seconds left on the clock, and Chuck runs it well. Plus, he's one of our better outside shooters. I knew he'd like a chance to beat North Carolina, so . . . "

How surprised was Chuck Driesell that he was called on?

"There was some pressure," he said, "but I just thought about practice. I told myself it was the same play we run in practice, so execute it like we do at Cole Field House."

Driesell could have passed the ball underneath to an open Ben Coleman, who had made 10 of 14 field goals. But Coleman said he told Driesell he had a good shot, "so take it, Chuckie."

Anyone who has watched Maryland practice knows that the coach's son is strong, a good outside shooter, good foul shooter and pretty good ball handler.

Then, why doesn't he play more?

"I just don't think he is one of our best four guards," Lefty has often said. "I don't think he's ready yet."