CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA — CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The University of Maryland basketball team has had some terrific memories playing North Carolina in the three years since Gary Williams became its coach. The sweep of the Tar Heels in 1990-91. The game-winning tip-in by Walt Williams in the final, frantic seconds last season at Cole Field House.
The Terps did not add to their scrapbook yesterday at the Smith Center. Dominated in the first half by North Carolina's Eric Montross and demoralized during a 19-2 run by the Tar Heels in the second half, Maryland suffered a 101-73 loss to the nation's sixth-ranked team.
It was the second straight Atlantic Coast Conference loss for the Terps (8-3, 0-2) this season, who must regroup before going to Tallahassee for Wednesday's game against No. 23 Florida State. It was also the second-largest margin of defeat for Maryland under Williams, four points shy of a 32-point blowout here two years ago.
"I wish we could have given Carolina more of a test today," Williams said. "I would have liked it to have been a tougher game because I don't know how much they got out of us. Early in our games, especially, I just don't think we're ready to play at this level yet. I don't think we understand the level of play necessary to compete against teams this good."
Said senior point guard Kevin McLinton, who finished with a game-high 21 points: "We've got to find out what we can do to make ourselves a better team. We've got to commit ourselves to this season. This reminds me of last year [when Maryland lost its first six ACC games]. That was hell. I don't want to go through that again."
Like its first ACC game this season, a 10-point loss at home last Tuesday to 10th-ranked Georgia Tech, Maryland started tentatively. With Montross reaching his season's average at halftime by scoring 16 of his 17 points, grabbing 10 of his game-high 13 rebounds and blocking three of his five shots, the Tar Heels were comfortably ahead, 53-31.
"He's a good player," said Maryland center Chris Kerwin, who didn't score in the first half and didn't get a rebound in the second half, finishing with six points and two rebounds. "He's more involved in their offense this year. He posts up really strong. It's kind of hard to stop him. You just try to throw him down."
Maryland did a good job on Montross in the second half, limiting the 7-foot-1, 275-pound junior to one shot. But after cutting its deficit to 58-44, after an 11-3 run in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the second half, the Terps failed to stop Donald Williams and failed to score themselves on 11 straight possessions in one stretch.
The sophomore guard, who still comes off the bench for the Tar Heels, scored 11 of his team's 19 points during the run that gave North Carolina (12-1, 2-0) a 31-point lead. Williams, the team's leading scorer this season, finished with 20 points, including five of eight on three-pointers.
"No matter who it is, we've got to get our guys covering their guys, from Montross to Williams," said Evers Burns, who had 14 points and seven rebounds, but didn't score until Maryland was HTC already down 20 late in the first half. "We didn't do a good job of that today."
Except for that run by the Terps early in the second half, the Tar Heels overwhelmed Maryland. They blocked a dozen shots, including six by Kevin Salvadori, their 7-foot backup center. Using their height and muscle to the fullest advantage, they out-rebounded the Terps, 50-30, including 21-11 on the offensive boards.
The Terps didn't shoot as poorly (41.7 percent) as they did against Georgia Tech, but Burns (seven of 17) and freshman guard Johnny Rhodes (six of 15, one of eight on threes) continue to struggle. McLinton was eight of 15 from the field and had five rebounds and six assists.
"Rhodes probably is a lot better than he played from what we've seen of him on tape," North Carolina coach Dean Smith said.
Smith, whose team scored more than 100 points in back-to-back ACC regular-season games for the first time in school history, was uncharacteristically optimistic about North Carolina's performance and typically diplomatic on the Terps.
"We're very happy with a win over what I thought was a very athletic Maryland team," said Smith, whose Tar Heels have lost only to Michigan this season.
Williams is aching for his first ACC win this season. But the realist in him knows that the Terps just played two top 10 teams. Still, the patience that he has displayed in recent days could wear if Maryland continues to lose.
"To be able to come down here and compete against them, we really have to make a great effort," Williams said. "We just didn't make a great effort today, and that's my responsibility, not the players'."
The effort came yesterday in the second half. By then, the chance of adding to the scrapbook was gone.