Terps kick up Heel in OT UM uses Profit's 19, freshman spark to stun No. 1 Carolina, 89-83

Guthridge, UNC suffer 1st loss

Terps win 3rd in a row after 0-2 start in ACC

January 15, 1998|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- There will be a new No. 1 team in college basketball next week, and a change near the bottom of the Top 25, too.

Unranked Maryland won a war of attrition and beat top-ranked North Carolina, 89-83, in overtime before a sellout crowd at Cole Field House last night.

The Terps got big games from Laron Profit and freshmen Mike Mardesich and Terence Morris and outscored the Tar Heels 13-7 in the extra five minutes.

It was the first loss for coach Bill Guthridge, who replaced the legendary Dean Smith and got North Carolina off to a 17-0 start.

Maryland, left for dead two weeks ago after a 32-point loss to Duke, won its third straight to move to 10-5 overall and 3-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Terps were the first opponent to shoot better than 50 percent against the Tar Heels this season (34-for-66, 51.5 percent) and out-rebounded them, 39-32.

"The key thing is that we were able to rebound with a great rebounding team," said Maryland coach Gary Williams. "Mike Mardesich was really big off the bench, and Terence Morris was great with his defense. I could see that Terence and Mike had no fear tonight."

Antawn Jamison led North Carolina (17-1, 4-1) with 27 points, but he missed four foul shots in overtime, and his free throw with 7.4 seconds left was his only point in the final 18 minutes.

The Terps limited fatigued North Carolina to two baskets in the overtime, and iced it on a pair of free throws by Laron Profit with 18 seconds left. Profit scored six points in overtime and 19 overall to lead the Terps.

"We beat No. 1 and you've got to feel good about yourself when you do that," Profit said. "We wanted everyone to contribute, and everyone did."

Said Guthridge: "I didn't expect to go unbeaten. Basketball's not an undefeated sport. I didn't come here to lose a game, but I thought Maryland was very capable of beating us. We missed some shots we'd like to have made, and I didn't coach as well as I should have."

Maryland struggled at the free-throw line in the final minutes, but limited North Carolina to a single point over the last 2: 27.

Maryland lost junior center Obinna Ekezie (16 points) and senior forward Rodney Elliott (16 points, eight rebounds) to fouls, but got a big lift from Mardesich (career-high 12 points) and Morris (10 points).

Mardesich's follow basket got the Terps into overtime, his strong inside basket began the extra five minutes, and the Terps got a tie at 80 on Morris' dunk off a pass from Sarunas Jasikevicius. Profit twice returned the lead to Maryland on its next two possessions, as he drove for a hanging basket, then hit two free throws to make it 84-82 with 2: 11 left.

Morris then fouled out Ademola Okulaja and Makhtar Ndiaye, but he couldn't cash in at the free-throw line. He missed a one-and-one with 1: 16 left, and made one of two with 50.6 seconds left for an 85-82 lead.

The overtime was a letdown after a classic first 40 minutes, punctuated by Mardesich, who grabbed an air ball by Elliott and kissed it off the glass with 46 seconds left to force a tie at 76 and the overtime.

Vince Carter and Shammond Williams missed jump shots from the corners on the Tar Heels' last possession in regulation. Maryland got the ball back with nine seconds left, but could only muster an off-balance attempt from the wing by Jasikevicius, a shot that was altered by Vince Carter.

Maryland trailed by six points on three occasions in the second half. The last came with 7: 49 left, when Ekezie was called for his third foul on Carter's inside basket, which made it 65-59. Carter missed the free throw -- the Tar Heels' first miss of the night -- and the Terps used that small victory as a springboard.

Maryland went on a 12-5 run, and got a tie at 72 on Elliott's alley-oop pass that Morris converted into a dunk with 2: 40 left. Ekezie fouled out 13 seconds later, leading to two free throws by Ndiaye, but the Terps tied it again when Elliott found Terrell Stokes open in the lane with 2: 08 left.

Down 65-59, Elliott began the comeback with a basket inside, then Profit fed Jasikevicius for a foul-line jumper. Ed Cota's three-point play with 6: 38 got the spread back up to five at 68-63, but the Terps kept coming and earned a tie at 70 on two free throws by Profit with 4: 51 left.

The Tar Heels last lost at Cole Field House in February 1995, when they were also No. 1.

Since starting 0-3 in the ACC last season -- including what should have been a demoralizing come-from-ahead loss to the Terps at the Smith Center -- North Carolina had won 33 of 34, the only loss coming to NCAA champion Arizona at the Final Four. That's the best stretch for the Tar Heels in over four decades.

Maryland beat N.C. State on Saturday with a 3-2 zone, and used the same weapon and help from its freshmen to take a 41-37 lead, but the Terps' man defense was handled by the Tar Heels in the opening minutes of the second half.

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