***Listen to the story***
With the loss, the Terrapins dropped to 13-10 on the season and 5-5 in conference action.
The Tar Heels spurted out to a quick 11-0 lead just over two minutes into the game and never looked back from there with the sharp 18-point second-half performance by Marcus Paige, which is becoming a theme of the season. Paige’s 25 point output on the night was his highest ever total in an ACC game.
UNC Head Coach Roy Williams said after the game he really couldn’t explain the disparity in Paige’s first half to second half performances.
“I think he’s really a tough competitor. I asked him two times tonight if he needed a break, and I didn’t take him out of the game in the second half. There were a lot of timeouts, so I hope that was good. I can’t explain it, except for he’s really a tough competitor,” Coach Williams said.
***Listen to Roy Williams’ postgame press conference***
Maryland and UNC came into the contest as the top two rebounding teams in the conference, and it showed with some physical play in the paint. But Carolina took it to another level in the second half by not allowing Maryland a single offensive rebound and picking up five of their own.
Brice Johnson tallied 19 points and delivered some solid defensive stops for the Tar Heels.
Maryland’s Dez Wells led his team in scoring with 18 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Carolina in the Terrapins’ final appearance in the Smith Center as ACC members.
McAdoo won the opening tipoff for the Tar Heels and he immediately score inside. Paige ran inside on the following possession and McAdoo finished the bucket.
Carolina was off to a roaring start when J.P. Tokoto got a shot to go to push the lead out to 6-0 with 18:50 to play in the first half. The crowd was sent in a frenzy when McDonald hit a three-pointer.
Mercifully, Maryland called a timeout with 17:56 on the first half clock. Carolina had the impressive 11-0 advantage.
It was about as clean of a start to a contest as any basketball team could imagine, and with another McDonald three-pointer, the Tar Heels claimed a 17-3 advantage with 15:44 left in the first half.
Nick Faust ran coast-to-coast for a powerful slam dunk that closed the gap to ten points at 19-9 with 12:40 to play in the half.
An 8-1 run for the Terrapins cut the Tar Heel advantage down to nine points at 20-11 with 11:48 to play. A questionable foul call on Joel James upset Coach Williams.
Brice Johnson entered the scoring fray to push Carolina out to a 22-11 margin, but Maryland’s Dez Wells answered with a quick jumper on the other end.
Charles Mitchell for the Terps was making his presence known in the paint, gobbling up rebounds to get Maryland back in the contest, only trailing 22-16 with 8:22 on the first half clock.
Kennedy Meeks grabbed an important rebound and put the ball back through the nets to give UNC the 24-21 lead with 7:12 to play in the opening half.
Seth Allen found some space inside and made a layup that cut the lead down to a mere three points yet again at 26-23 with 6:07 to go in the half.
The play degenerated into sloppy at best for the next couple minutes as both teams scrambled for loose balls and gave up easy turnovers.
With 3:28 left in the half, Carolina was clinging to a 28-23 lead over Maryland.
Paige delivered a beautiful pass to an on-the-run Johnson for a score that lifted the rejuvenated the Tar Heels. Carolina scored again thanks to a Johnson jumper that made it through the nets. Maryland called a timeout with UNC up 32-25.
Paige knocked down an electric shot from outside the arc to extend the Carolina advantage out to ten points with under two minutes remaining in the half.
Another Johnson field goal coupled with a pair of Paige free throw makes handed the Tar Heels the 39-27 lead at halftime.
The halftime stat sheet told the tale. Carolina was shooting 45 percent from the floor while Maryland managed a mere 28.6-percent clip.
It was a case of good offensive balance for the Tar Heels with Paige netting seven points, Johnson contributing eight and McAdoo leading the way with nine of his own.
Evan Smotrycz was the leading scorer for the visiting Terrapins with six points.
Paige and McDonald scored for the Tar Heels early to get off to a 4-0 start. Maryland answered with a basket of their own to place the scoreboard at 43-32 with 17:39 remaining in the game.
McAdoo missed a pair of free throws, but slammed home a furious dunk to ignite Dean Dome crowd. The Tar Heel lead was 46-36 with 15:54 to play.
Johnson netted a jumper to maintain a ten-point Carolina advantage while the defense continued to display some tough guarding.
Maryland’s Jake Layman worked his way to the rim to put 40 points up on the scoreboard for his team. But with 11:37 to play, UNC held the 50-40 lead.
Smotrycz knocked down a jumper to close the margin down to seven points with 10:2o to go in the contest.
Paige answered by downing a three-pointer.
***Listen to the call by Jones Angell and Eric Montross of THSN***
But Wells responded with a physical make inside. With 9:17 remaining, Carolina held a tenuous 54-47 advantage. The game was tightening up.
A four-point play for Paige proved vital to extend the UNC lead back out to 11 points.
The Maryland offense was starting to find its groove with Wells doing a number on Paige to trim the advantage down to six points with 7:34 to play.
Paige slashed his way to the rim and lobbed a ball off the glass and through nets. Johnson made another alert play to score on a second-chance opportunity and stake the Tar Heels out to a 62-52 lead with 5:30 left in the game.
***Listen to the call***
Paige was left wide open and drained the long-range three-pointer to give UNC a 65-56 lead with under four minutes to play.
McDonald worked his way to the free throw line and converted on one of the attempts..
Marcus Paige continued his impressive second half play to guide the Tar Heels to the victory in the waning minutes.
Next up for the Tar Heels is a road trip up to South Bend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday.
Click here for the game photo gallery.