9:00 PM ET, March 3, 2004
PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Maryland has played in the NCAA tournament in each of the last 10 seasons. On Wednesday night, the Terrapins gave themselves a chance to make it 11.John Gilchrist scored 21 points and Maryland bolstered its hopes for an at-large bid with a 70-69 victory over North Carolina State (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP).Jamar Smith had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Terrapins (15-11, 6-9 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won 17 of their last 21 meetings with the Wolfpack. Maryland had dropped four of its last five games overall heading into Wednesday and needed a big victory to impress the tournament selection committee."The sense of urgency was there," Terrapins coach Gary Williams said. "The pressure was on the players. I thought they really came through well."Julius Hodge scored 27 points and Marcus Melvin added 22 for the Wolfpack (18-8, 10-5), who have lost their last two games at home and three of five overall. Melvin missed two 3-pointers in the final minute, one that would have given his team the lead and another that would have tied the game.Smith hit two free throws to help hold off N.C. State at the end."We've got to go back to doing the things that we were doing and that's just giving it our all for the whole basketball game," Melvin said. "We came out kind of flat and we can't have that."Gilchrist, leading the Terrapins with 14.7 points and 5.0 assists per game heading in, was benched at the start of the game for arriving late to a team breakfast earlier Wednesday, Williams said.He entered the game at the 14:51 mark of the first half and didn't take long to have an impact. He scored six points in an 11-2 run that gave the Terrapins a 28-14 lead with 7:53 left in the first half."They didn't have as much to lose as we did so I felt that really helped us coming out being fired up tonight," Gilchrist said.Maryland led by as many as 17 points in the early going before settling for a 44-34 halftime lead. The Wolfpack committed 11 turnovers in the first half and 19 for the game.N.C. State fought back in the second half behind Hodge, who scored 16 points in the final 20 minutes. His two free throws with 7:48 remaining tied the game at 62.But Gilchrist responded by scoring the next six points, including two free throws that made it 68-62 with 2:17 remaining."John lifted us very much today and he gave us a lot of energy," Smith said of Gilchrist. "I was just trying to tell everybody to focus on defense and John played very good defense tonight. He got a couple of key steals."The Wolfpack played without guard Scooter Sherrill, who sprained his ankle Sunday night against North Carolina.