5:30 PM ET, February 27, 2005
Comcast Center, College Park, Maryland
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- North Carolina had just survived a furious comeback by Maryland, and Raymond Felton deflected credit for the winning basket in much the same fashion that Sean May swatted away the game's final shot.Felton made the tiebreaking layup with 19 seconds left and May blocked a shot just before the buzzer, giving No. 2 North Carolina a harrowing 85-83 victory Sunday.May had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who remained alone atop the Atlantic Coast Conference with their fifth straight win."We feel very fortunate," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "That was a big block at the end, to say the least."With the score tied at 83, Felton drove the left side of the lane and delivered his only basket of the second half. Mike Jones had a chance to tie it for Maryland, but his last-second shot was swatted away by May."Sean is unbelievable. He does great things at the right time," Felton said. "That time he made a big play on the defensive end. My opinion is that is what won the game, not my layup."Jawad Williams scored 21 points to help the Tar Heels (24-3, 12-2) beat the Terrapins on the road for the first time since 2001. North Carolina remained one game ahead of Wake Forest, which defeated Virginia 90-68 earlier Sunday.In the first game between the teams, the Tar Heels hammered the Terrapins by 34 points at Chapel Hill. This one was closer, but North Carolina again proved to be too talented and too deep for a Maryland squad with one scholarship senior."They're the No. 2 team in the country and I want our guys to believe they can play with them," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "On the last play, we had good isolation with Mike Jones. But Sean made a great play."The Tar Heels led 76-68 with 5 minutes left before the Terrapins used three straight 3-pointers to go up 81-80 with 1:33 to go -- their first lead since 29-28.Williams then hit a 3-pointer for North Carolina, but a tip-in by Ekene Ibekwe tied it at 83 with 41 seconds remaining.That set the stage for the thrilling finish."Jones came over and got a clean look," May said. "I knew he had to put the shot up; he didn't have time enough to pass it. I was able to get a clean block."Chris McCray scored a career-high 25 points, Nik Caner-Medley had 16 and John Gilchrist added 13 for the Terrapins (16-10, 7-8), who rallied from a 10-point deficit to tie it.The Tar Heels finished with a 44-35 edge on the boards, led by May, who recorded his 11th double-double of the season."He's about as athletic as a small elephant," joked Roy Williams.It sure didn't seem that way to Maryland, who had no one in the middle to match up with the 6-foot-9 center."The rebounding advantage was big for us," Roy Williams said.It was the 21st straight game in which North Carolina had at least four players score in double figures, and the Tar Heels did it without leading scorer Rashad McCants, who missed a second straight game with an intestinal disorder. David Noel scored a season-high 12 points and Felton had 10.After Maryland pulled even at 65, the Tar Heels used an 11-3 run to make it 76-68 with 5:02 remaining. Noel, who came in averaging 4.3 points per game, had a dunk and a 3-pointer in the surge.In the first half, Caner-Medley and Gilchrist became the 40th and 41st players to score 1,000 points at Maryland. Caner-Medley reached the milestone by hitting a baseline jumper with 14:38 left, and Gilchrist did it with a three-point play that gave the Terps a 29-26 lead at the 7:54 mark.Felton then hit a jumper and 3-pointer to ignite a 9-0 run that put the Tar Heels up 35-29.Down 47-37 at halftime, the Terrapins twice cut the gap to six points early in the second half. It was 57-51 before Marvin Williams hit two free throws and Jackie Manuel made a layup to restore the 10-point cushion.McCray then scored four points and Jones hit two straight 3-pointers in a 14-4 spurt that tied it with 9:57 left.But North Carolina wouldn't succumb to the noise generated by the sellout crowd of 17,950, and improved to 6-2 on the road in the ACC."I always enjoy beating people on the road," Roy Williams said. "I've always felt poise and toughness can get you through on the road when the other team's crowd is really going crazy."Having Sean May helps, too.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||31-62 (.500)||30-71 (.423)|
|3P Made-Attempted||9-22 (.409)||11-17 (.647)|
|FT Made-Attempted||14-21 (.667)||12-13 (.923)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||15 (0/0)||17 (0/0)|