CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- There was a lot for the University of Maryland basketball team to overcome last night: the size, depth and talent of fifth-ranked North Carolina; Tar Heels coach Dean Smith going for a historic victory; and, of course, last year.
In the end, as well as the beginning and the middle, the Terrapins couldn't get by any of those sizable obstacles. After beating North Carolina twice last season, Maryland was routed last night, 105-73, in an Atlantic Coast Conference game before an announced sellout crowd of 21,572 at the Smith Center.
The victory was the 10th straight for North Carolina (12-1, 1-0), but more significantly, it was the 700th for Smith. The victory -- coming in his 30th season and, even more impressive, his 904th game -- put Smith in an exclusive group with five other coaches.
The loss was the most lopsided for Maryland (8-5, 1-2) this season and the largest margin of defeat since Gary Williams took over as coach last season. It was not only the result of the Tar Heels playing so well in their belated ACC opener, but that the Terps were horrendous.
"You come down here to play the fifth-ranked team in the country, you have to do things right," said Williams. "We didn't do a lot of things right and we paid the price against a very good team."
Maryland shot poorly from the field (27 of 78 for 35.9 percent) and the free-throw line (14 of 27), was clobbered on the boards (55-42) and had none of the defensive intensity it had displayed during a recent stretch of six victories in seven games.
Also, Walt Williams cooled off considerably after a recent hot streak. Williams, who burned the Tar Heels for a career-high 33 points in College Park last season, missed his first six shots and finished with 16 points on seven-of-21 shooting. Matt Roe led the Terps with 23 points.
"The shots just weren't falling," said Williams, who had been averaging a shade under 26 points during his last five games. "I had open shots, but they didn't go in."
While Williams was being held in check by a combination of North Carolina guards Henrik Rodl and Hubert Davis, nobody appeared to be checking Davis. The junior guard more than doubled his season average of 11 points a game, finishing with a career-high 25. He was nine of 14 from the field, including five of eight on three-point tries.
"We were trying to find the open man," said Davis, who scored 17 points in the second half and helped North Carolina extend its 47-29 halftime lead. "We did a good job getting through their traps and even when we missed, George [Lynch] and Pete [Chilcutt] were hitting the boards."
Helped by early foul trouble on Maryland's Cedric Lewis -- the senior center picked up his second personal with a little more than four minutes gone -- the Tar Heels dominated the inside throughout the first half. Lynch finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Chilcutt had 17 points and nine rebounds. North Carolina also blocked 13 shots.
"They just didn't let me play like I know how," said Lewis, who was referring to either the Tar Heels or the officials, or both. "They could go over my back, but I couldn't go over theirs. I'm not going to blame this [loss] on that, but it was frustrating."
It was the kind of defeat many had predicted would be a regular occurrence for the so-far surprising Terps, considering the loss of personnel from last year's team. Although Roe and Kevin McLinton (13 points, seven rebounds and four assists) played well, most didn't.
"We didn't get a rebound off a missed free throw in the first half," said Gary Williams. "We didn't get a loose ball all night. We're just not a good road team yet."
Maryland has been a very good team (6-0) at Cole Field House this season, and that is where it will play Duke on Saturday. Maryland has not lost at home since dropping a 114-111 overtime decision to the Blue Devils last season, a stretch of 10 games.
It was certainly not easy playing here last night. The normally laid-back North Carolina fans seemed to be more into the game than usual, considering what was at stake for their beloved coach. And the Tar Heels players seemed to be trying to make up for last season, the first time in 10 years that Maryland had swept both games.
"It was a chance to be part of history, and we were," said Davis. "I also think that a lot of us had last year in the back of our minds. We wanted to come out and play hard."
Aside from a few members of the school band holding up placards reading "700" in the final minute of the game, there was little in the way of celebration. Typically, Smith downplayed the moment, not even mentioning it in his post-game news conference until the subject was broached.
"It's nice of people to notice, but it's more recognition of the guys who played here, the guys I was privileged to coach," he said. "I was probably more excited about the first game after we beat Virginia, 80-46. I didn't think we'd win a game that year."