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Gilchrist scores 21 to boost NCAA hopes

3/4/2004

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.