McCants leads Tar Heels to rout of Terrapins

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- For the previous six games,
North Carolina (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today; No. 3 AP) hammered the opposition expecting that
the Atlantic Coast Conference season would be more demanding.

But on Saturday, the Tar Heels made a ranked league team look
just as helpless as their other opponents.

Rashad McCants scored 19 points to lead seven players in double
figures in the Tar Heels' 109-75 rout of Maryland (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today; No. 22 AP), a blowout
that was the latest in a growing string of impressive victories.

The Tar Heels (13-1, 2-0) had their highest scoring output ever
against the Terrapins (9-3, 1-1), and were two points from matching
their biggest margin of victory in the series. It was also the most
points Maryland had allowed in any game in the past 14 years.

"We wanted to send a statement out that we're a better
basketball club than we were last year," said Sean May, who had 14
points. "There were a lot of question marks about this team
because we've had the talent for a few years and haven't really
lived up to it. And we used every excuse in the book.

"Our statement was: This team's for real, we're going to get
better every day in practice and treat every game as a chance to
get better."

As of now, that's a scary thought for the rest of the league.
The Tar Heels have won 13 straight games -- most by lopsided margins
-- since a loss to Santa Clara in the season opener. On Saturday,
North Carolina shot 57 percent, went 10-for-20 from 3-point range,
had a 49-28 rebounding edge and led by as many as 42 points.

The Tar Heels got production throughout the lineup. Raymond
Felton added 12 points and six assists, and had little trouble
pushing the ball through Maryland's trapping defense. Jawad
Williams had 13 points while freshman Marvin Williams added 12.

Even reserve Reyshawn Terry -- who came in averaging two points
and five minutes a game -- finished with 11 points and keyed a 29-5
run spanning halftime that gave the Tar Heels a huge lead.

North Carolina has now cracked the 100-point mark three straight
times, the first time that has happened since the Tar Heels'
national title season in 1992-93. It was North Carolina's biggest
victory margin against a ranked opponent since beating Florida
State 103-55 in January 1998.

"We're extremely happy with what went on," coach Roy Williams
said, "and I'm extremely impressed with my team."

The Terrapins led by five with about 9 minutes left in the first
half, but nothing went right after that. That included Nik
Caner-Medley's shorts, which were on backward the entire game and
drew mocking chants from the raucous student section.

Maryland shot just 38 percent, including 2-for-22 from 3-point

"I was on the bench, and I was looking at the scoreboard and
(thinking), 'This game is on ESPN and it's a conference game,"
said Travis Garrison, who scored 13 points for the Terrapins.
"It's a big game, and it's hard to look at a score like that.

"I tip my hat. They played real hard and they just took it to

Still, the Tar Heels didn't get off to a great start. They
committed 15 first-half turnovers against Maryland's aggressive
defense, which helped the Terrapins get out in transition and take
a 29-24 lead.

It led an angry Roy Williams to break a clipboard during a
timeout to fire up his team.

But once the Tar Heels stopped making mistakes, they turned the
game into a display of their romping, up-tempo offense.

After Chris McCray stripped McCants of the ball on the wing,
Williams pulled his star in favor of Terry, a 6-foot-7 sophomore.

Terry quickly responded, hitting a jumper in the lane to start
the big run. Shortly after, Terry tipped out a rebound to save the
possession, then sunk a 3-pointer for a 32-30 lead that had the
fans chanting his name.

"Coach has always said be ready," Terry said. "I just took
that motivation and ran with it."

From there, Felton got the Tar Heels going, assisting on a
transition slam by Jawad Williams and scoring a layup off an
alley-oop pass by McCants off a turnover.

Maryland went 1-for-11 the rest of the half and trailed 47-34 at
the break. The Tar Heels opened the second half with four
three-point plays in the first 3½ minutes by pushing the ball
upcourt, taking a 20-point lead that would only grow as the game

"Carolina got a lot of momentum before halftime," Maryland
coach Gary Williams said. "Then we came out and didn't play well
early, and that was the game."