UM takes another tumble vs. 'Pack

No. 22 Terps fall, 82-63, fail to build on Duke win

N.C. State hits 13 threes

Maryland 1-5 on road in ACC

College Basketball

February 17, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Maryland Terrapins have proved one thing this season: They can beat Duke.

As for other matters, such as winning on the road and playing every night with consistency and intensity, those goals remain as elusive as ever.

Looking for their first three- game Atlantic Coast Conference winning streak in two seasons, the 22nd-ranked Terps instead were handled by North Carolina State, 82-63, last night at the RBC Center, adding to a trend that has confounded coach Gary Williams.

The Terps had hoped that their 99-92 overtime victory over Duke on Saturday night would change things, but they again followed a big win with a disappointing loss, as Maryland didn't defend well on the perimeter and was outhustled and outworked at both ends.

Maryland ( 15-8, 6-6) dropped into a fourth-place tie with Miami in the ACC with four regular-season games left, starting Saturday at Virginia. The team is still in good position to capture a 12th straight NCAA tournament bid, even though the Terps have yet to prove that they can beat an opponent not named Duke on its home court.

The Terps" ACC record away from Comcast Center dropped to 1-5, and last night's loss came at a place where Maryland had won four straight. The Wolfpack, which needs a strong late-season run to have a shot at the NCAA tournament, improved to 15-10 overall and 5-7 in the ACC.

N.C. State, which hit 12 three pointers in a 16-point victory at Comcast Center last month, made 13 last night and seemingly hit one every time the Terps made a run.

Ilian Evtimov and Tony Bethel each scored 17 points for N.C. State. Julius Hodge had 13 points and nine assists.

Nik Caner-Medley led the Terps with 19, but he scored only two after halftime. John Gilchrist, coming off a stellar game in the 99-92 overtime win over Duke, was held to seven points on 1-for-6 shooting.

The Terps, who trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half, were behind by 14 at halftime, prompting Williams to shuffle strategies in the second half.

He continued to stay with a zone defense, which had slowed the Wolfpack late in the first half. He sat Will Bowers and Travis Garrison, who started the game, in favor of James Gist and Ekene Ibekwe.

And then he yanked Gilchrist early in the second half and replaced him at point guard with Sterling Ledbetter.

Maryland cut its deficit to 10 about three minutes into the half, only to watch Evtimov drill two three-pointers to expand the Wolfpack's lead to 58-41 with 14:23 remaining.

That trend continued throughout the second half as the Wolfpack answered every Terps run with a big shot. Engin Atsur nailed a big three-pointer after Ledbetter had cut the Terps" deficit to 12 on a nifty drive with 12:48 remaining.

Consecutive three-point plays by Gist and Garrison cut N.C. State's lead to 63-56 with just over seven minutes remaining and enlivened the Maryland bench for the first time in more than an hour.

But then Atsur got free - after Gilchrist fell down - for a layup inside and Bethel hit a three-pointer to give N.C. State a 68-56 lead with 5:14 to play.

Jordan Collins then hit N.C. State's 13th three-pointer, essentially sealing the victory.

Williams had wanted his Terps to start fast against N.C. State, which has little margin of error if it plans on playing in the NCAA tournament.

When the teams met at Comcast Center on Jan. 23 and the Wolfpack defeated Maryland, 85-69, in one of the low points in the Terps" up-and-down season, North Carolina State had a 26-point advantage at halftime.

Williams joked earlier this week that the Terps didn't play bad defense in that game, they played no defense. And it wasn't much better at the start of last night's game.

Repeatedly finding open shots, the Wolfpack hit three three-pointers en route to an early 17-12 lead. The Terps fought back and took a 20-19 lead on a three-pointer by Nik Caner-Medley with 11:45 left.

That's when the Wolfpack took over. Cedrick Simmons got free inside for a dunk and Evtimov and Bethel hit three pointers. Then after two free throws by Simmons, Bethel hit another three to complete a 13-0 run and give the Wolfpack a 32-20 lead with 8:30 remaining .

Chris McCray hit two free throws to temporarily stop the surge, but the Wolfpack scored seven straight points to take a 39-22 lead. Two of those points came on Evtimov's foul shots after Williams was assessed a technical foul for arguing a call, his second technical of the season.

Williams, whose team went more than 5M-= minutes without a field goal in the first half and watched the Wolfpack make seven of their first 12 three- pointers, tried everything to slow N.C. State.

He switched to a zone defense and inserted little-used senior Mike Grinnon as the Wolfpack completed a 25-4 run to take a 20-point first-half lead.

The Terps did inch a little closer in the first half, going into intermission with a 48-34 deficit. It could have been much worse without Caner-Medley, who had 17 points at halftime on 7-for-9 shooting.

NOTES: When N.C. State was at Comcast Center last month, fans serenaded Hodge with chants of "Won't Get Drafted." Last night, the Wolfpack fans returned the favor at Gilchrist.

Next for Maryland

Matchup: No. 22 Maryland (15-8, 6-6) vs. Virginia (13-10, 4-8)

Site: University Hall, Charlottesville, Va.

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 13, 9/WBAL (1090 AM)

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