'Pack moves by UM, 68-66

In new home, N.C. St. maps end to drought vs. Terps on late shot

January 07, 2000|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

RALEIGH, N.C. -- New location, different result.

Maryland owned N.C. State at ancient Reynolds Coliseum the last five years. The Wolfpack moved into the Entertainment and Sports Arena this season, and last night it posted a heart-stopping 68-66 win over the Terps, as Justin Gainey gagged on three free throws, then got the game-winning basket with 1.3 seconds remaining.

In the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams, No. 12 Maryland (11-3, 0-1) had its season-best five-game win streak stopped.

The Terps came out bumbling and dug themselves an 18-4 hole, but led at the half and 56-55 inside the last six minutes. After falling behind by six, they got a tie with 18.8 seconds left on a basket by Danny Miller, but Gainey dribbled down the clock, left Steve Blake behind a screen and lofted a soft jumper inside the free-throw line over Lonny Baxter.

Terence Morris gathered in a long baseball pass and attempted a 35-footer on the left side that hit glass and rim before it bounced away. It was one of the few open looks the ACC's preseason Player of the Year had. The last of Morris' 20 points came with 10: 44 left. The game-ending shot was his fourth straight miss.

The Terps gave N.C. State (10-1, 1-0) more second chances than a forgiving mother, as the Wolfpack wrestled down 13 offensive rebounds in the second half alone.

The climax was sweet revenge for Gainey, a senior point guard who suffered through a pair of humiliating defeats against the Terps last season. N.C. State's worst ACC loss ever came at Cole Field House last January, and in February the Wolfpack set a school record low for field-goal percentage in its 10th straight regular-season loss to the Terps.

"It's been a long time," said Gainey, whose three-pointer beat Purdue in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. "I haven't beaten them [the Terps] since I've been here, and when we've lost to them, it's been ugly. This is a big win. Every win in the ACC is big."

Maryland has two days to prepare for Sunday's ACC home opener against No. 8 Duke, and coach Gary Williams has a laundry list of items that need to be cleaned up. Besides rebounding and stopping dribble penetration like Gainey's, the Terps reverted to their early-season habit of slow starts.

"We probably didn't do enough things well to win the game," Williams said. "We never got a consistent team rebounding thing going, and it cost us.

Williams disputed the notion that Morris' quiet finish was a factor, saying "we scored down the stretch." Sophomores Baxter and Juan Dixon did come on late, as the latter had 12 of his 14 points and the former 10 of his 12 in the second half. Morris had 16 of the Terps' first 30 points, and collected 12 rebounds and a small cut under his right eye.

The Terps withstood a wave of opening night emotion, but dropped their guard in the second half, when N.C. State, shooting 43.9 percent for the year, made 48.6 percent of its attempts and four of its seven three-point attempts.

The last solved the 3-2 zone that Williams had dusted off, as sophomore guard Anthony Grundy took a feed from Damien Wilkins and gave N.C. State a 58-56 lead with 5: 43 left. Coach Herb Sendek's team never trailed again, to the delight of a sellout crowd of 19,525 that included some no-shows.

A pair of free throws by Wilkins pushed it to 64-58 with 3: 36 left, but Baxter and Dixon scored tough baskets. Junior forward Damon Thornton, who defended Morris, got the biggest of his 15 points on a putback with 1: 35 left.

"If we grab some of the offensive reounds they got," Morris said, "we win the game."

Dixon hit a runner in the lane, and after three straight missed free throws by Gainey, Miller got the final tie on an inbounds pass from Blake. Gainey then deflated the Terps on a play that Williams said included a "mistake" by the Terps that he declined to specify.

The game unfolded as an ugly contrast to the Duke-Virginia 209-point shootout in Charlottesville Wednesday night.

Maryland committed 14 turnovers in the first 11 minutes, as Blake and Dixon were stripped in the backcourt and Baxter and Morris were guilty of offensive fouls. N.C. State committed so much effort at that end of the court, however, that it couldn't find the energy to finish at the other end.

Grundy's basket with 11: 30 left in the half gave the Wolfpack a stunning 18-4 lead, but it wouldn't get another basket until the last 10 seconds of the first half, on his three-point play.

The Terps scored 15 unanswered points -- eight by Morris -- during that 11-minute plus span, before the Wolfpack broke the drought with a pair of free throws by Kenny Inge. The conference's top shot-blocking team rejected five N.C. State shots and altered as many in the remainder of the first half.

Because of its horrendous offensive start, Maryland needed that defensive wall. In the end, some of its other shortcomings were exposed as four freshmen experienced the frenzy of their first ACC game.

"We've got to grow up," Williams said. "We can't worry about the age of our players. We've got to step up and play."

ACC standings

Conference Overall

School W-L Pct. W-L Pct.

N.C. State 1-0 1.000 10-1 .909

Duke 1-0 1.000 10-2 .833

N. Carolina 1-0 1.000 10-4 .714

Florida St. 1-0 1.000 6-5 .545

Maryland 0-1 .000 11-3 .786

Georgia Tech 0-0 .000 7-5 .583

Clemson 0-0 .000 6-6 .500

Virginia 0-1 .000 9-4 .692

Wake Forest 0-1 .000 9-4 .692

Yesterday's results N.C. State 68, Maryland 66

North Carolina 65, Clemson 45

Next for Terps

Opponent: No. 8 Duke

Site: Cole Field House, College Park

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WBAL (1090 AM)

Tickets: Sold out

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