If you told Gary Williams that his Maryland Terrapins would make as many baskets, shoot 56 percent in the first half and 48 percent for the game, have just two fewer rebounds and four fewer made free throws than UNC, while scoring 91 points only to get run out of the gym losing by 17, he simply would not have believed you.
But, that’s exactly what happened when the topsy-turvy Terps ran head-on into a North Carolina team playing to its maximum potential, which had pundits and prognosticators earlier in the year predicting a Tar Heel expressway to the National Championship.
Defense? Who needs defense? Shoot the rock.
A recently revitalized Wayne Ellington scored a season-high 34 points and hit seven of his team's season-high 16 three-pointers in the Tar Heels' sixth straight victory. Tyler Hansbrough added 24 and Ty Lawson added 21 and four threes for North Carolina (20-2, 6-2 ACC). The win marked UNC’s fifth straight 20-win season under Ol’ Roy.
Danny Green finished with 16 points for North Carolina, which hit 11 of its first 14 attempts from behind the arc to match the school's record in a half and finished one three-pointer shy of the record for a game set against Florida State back in 1995.
The Heels shot 51.4 percent, reached the 100-point mark for the sixth time, and snapped a two-game losing streak in the series with their first win against Maryland since 2006.
Freshman Sean Mosley scored a season-high 19 points, Cliff Tucker added 18, and Greivis Vasquez scored 13 points for the Terps (14-8, 3-5).
"They made like four or five threes in a row, and that was basically the game," Vasquez said. "We were so worried about Tyler Hansbrough that we gave shots away. We let them shoot the ball. ... It was just basically a no-defense game. They didn't play defense, and we didn't play defense."
Here at T.A.H., we don’t get all geeked over stats, but the box score of this game is worth seeing. The numbers are virtually identical in every statistical category except one—3PM-A. The Terps made three of 10 three-pointers (30 percent) while the Heels canned 16 of 25 (64 percent)—that's a 39-point swing.
Ellington’s 34 points came on just 15 shot attempts, while he, Lawson, Green, and Hansbrough were all in double figures by halftime.
(A note on officiating: We continue to be amazed at the inconsistency within each ACC game. Last night, in the first half players in the paint got pounded—no whistles until Dino Gregory tackled Tyler Hansbrough. In the second half, the reverse was true. What’s up with that?)
(Photos by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)