In front of an electric, packed house at the Dean Smith Center on Tuesday night, senior point guard Marcus Paige returned to the UNC starting lineup and scored 20 points to help lead his No. 9 ranked Tar Heels past the No. 2 Maryland Terrapins 89-81.
Now a member of the Big Ten, Maryland made its first trip to Tobacco Road since leaving the ACC before the beginning of last year.
But the Terps came away empty-handed, as head coach Roy Williams’ team improves to 6-1 on the year, while Maryland will join the Tar Heels at 6-1–having just picked up its first loss.
“That had the feel of an old ACC Tournament game,” UNC head coach Roy Williams said afterwards. “It had the feel of an NCAA Tournament game. Just fortunately for us, it was in our building.”
Right from the opening tip, Paige played as if he was never gone with the broken hand that caused him to miss the season’s first six games.
He hit a three-pointer on the team’s second possession and almost completed an alley-oop from teammate Brice Johnson in the first half–before tossing it back up to Johnson, who slammed it home.
What he showed is that he’s clearly back to normal, as he also ended up with five assists and two steals to go along with his 20-point performance.
“I felt better than I thought I would,” Paige said. “I didn’t necessarily care about how many points I scored or anything like that, so I can’t say I played better than I thought I would. But my body felt better than I thought it would coming off of that break.
“I was worried about how I’d be conditioned because I only had one true practice of like full contact up-and-down.
In the understatement of the night, he also added that, “I think I handled it alright.”
The Tar Heels led for the majority of the first half–including by as many as 13–in a game where both teams shot above 50 percent, but combined for 37 turnovers.
In the second half, Maryland rallied behind its star sophomore guard Melo Trimble, who finished with 23 points and 12 assists.
His four-point play midway through the second half gave the Terps a 59-58 lead—but everything he did, Paige had an answer for down the stretch.
UNC sophomore wing Justin Jackson, who had nine points of his own, had an on-court view of the duel that took over the night.
“Sometimes great players just make big shots,” Jackson said. “In that second half [Trimble] came out and was just on fire. We were lucky to have Marcus on the other end hitting shots too.
“So going against a guy like [Trimble] showed that we really can play defense,” he continued. “Even whenever he’s getting his.”
Joel Berry started alongside Paige in the backcourt and contributed 14 points, while big men Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson combined for 28 points and 12 boards battling down low against Maryland’s hyped-up freshman center Diamond Stone.
But the real story of the game was Paige, and the way he was able to play at his peak—which didn’t seem to surprise his head coach one bit.
“If I’d had to bet, I would have said [Paige would] play very, very well because he was so anxious to play,” Williams said. “You don’t ever know because sometimes kids like Marcus are so conscientious and care, they put too much pressure on themselves.
“But, I had a feeling the little rascal would be pretty good.”
The Tar Heels will return to action on Sunday at the Smith Center, where they’ll host the Davidson Wildcats–the alma mater of current NBA MVP Stephen Curry.
Freshman pitcher Zac Gallen earned his second win of the year and Chris McCue remained perfect in his save opportunities this season to defeat the Terrapins and hand them their sixth loss at 11-6 on the year and 2-4 in the ACC.
Carolina spurted out to a 5-0 lead thanks to some solid hitting, but Maryland rallied back, closing the gap down to 5-4 as the clubs headed to the ninth inning.
But the Tar Heel bats lit it up in the final inning to close out the Terps in emphatic fashion thanks to hits by Michael Russell, Parks Jordan and Korey Dunbar.
Next up for the Tar Heels is a return back to Chapel Hill to take on Princeton at Boshamer Stadium Tuesday at 6 p.m.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-trump-terps-college-park
It’s starting to get serious over here in Greensboro. Here are my quick reactions so far:
GAME ONE: #8 Maryland vs. #9 Florida State
I strolled into the Greensboro Coliseum for an interesting matchup between the Terps and Noles. I was impressed with the Maryland contingent. They were vocal and you could sense their fans were desperate not to leave their final ACC Tournament without a victory.
Everybody else…they wanted nothing more than to see Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles crush the ACC traitors and give them a rude parting gift out the door. ACC purists, including many seated next to me in press row, were licking their chops at the possibility of a Maryland loss.
All in all, it was a competitive first half, however sloppy. Maryland’s Allen tallied 13 points. The Terps held the 34-32 edge. Both teams were shooting at a 43-percent clip from the floor.
Okaro White stepped up with an athletic block that resulted in a sprint to the basket in the other end. There’s no questioning the athleticism of the Seminoles – and their cheerleaders, oh my! But that’s another story for another day.
There were some great spikes in this one. It seemed like a volleyball match at time out there on the court. Mark Turgeon was his usual disgusted self on the sidelines for the Terps. I must say, I’ll miss his sour looks when he departs for the Big Ten next year.
Florida State was smartly getting out on the perimeter, limiting the Maryland three-point shots to perfection and forcing the drive inside – right into the Seminole wheelhouse.
Ian Miller and Thomas were both solid scoring options for Florida State. Dez Wells was doing his best to keep the Terps in the contest. But ultimately, it was the farewell party Maryland never wanted – falling on a last second Bojo dunk. Bojo, the Turtle Slayer!
FINAL: FSU 67 – MD 65
GAME TWO: #5 Pitt vs. #12 Wake Forest
There would be no slow start for Pitt in this one. The Panthers got off to a roaring start – 15-5 with 14:32 to play.
It was a heavy dose of Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna for the Panthers. Tyler Cavanaugh sniping three-pointers is a necessary ingredient to the Demon Deacons. And speaking of Demon Deacons, their mascot has some sick dance moves!
Wake Forest’s players, however, were not quite as enthusiastic as the mascot and cheerleaders. They seemed lethargic, sluggishly getting back on defense and not running solid offense.
Zanna and Patterson duo were proving too much for the Deac defense to handle. At the intermission, the Panthers held the 39-25 lead.
It was an epic halftime show. The mascots of all the ACC teams took over the floor and put on a zany, entertaining display of hoops. The Pitt dance team wasn’t too bad either.
The pace definitely quickened in the second half of play. The energy was ratcheted up for both squads, but again, Patterson was still Patterson. And his speciality was shredding the Demon Deacon defense.
The game got uglier and uglier by the minute, with Wake trailing by as many as 26 points midway through the second half. Head Coach Bzdelik’s funeral procession had begun.
Things got so out of hand that the fans all left for early happy hour and dinner. You could hear individual shouts from the crowd. Patterson finished with 24 points and sat the bench the final minutes.
In the end, Pitt advanced seamlessly on to the quarterfinals and a date with North Carolina.
FINAL: Pitt 84 – Wake Forest 55
The No. 13 North Carolina baseball team, 12-4 on the season, will enter its second ACC series of the year off two midweek victories when it travels up to College Park to face a Maryland club sporting a 9-4 record.
The Terrapins handed Delaware a 10-1 defeat in their last outing.
The Tar Heels will be looking to continue to ride their stable rotation of Trent Thornton, Benton Moss and Zac Gallen to another series win. UNC hasn’t dropped a series since opening weekend in Charleston, going down 2-1 to the College of Charleston.
Head Coach Mike Fox will be hoping the Tar Heel bats continue to heat up in ACC play.
Game one first pitch is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m. and live audio can be found on GoHeels.com.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-travel-face-terps-college-park
The No. 13 North Carolina women’s basketball team exacted some revenge on No. 8 Maryland Friday night in Greensboro, defeating the Terrapins 73-70 to improve to 24-8 on the season and advance to the ACC Tournament semifinals, where the Tar Heels will face No. 10 Duke.
With the loss, the Terrapins dropped to 24-6 on the season and finished their final ACC Tournament in disappointing fashion. Next year, Maryland will join the Big Ten.
The game featured two of the conference’s premier players in UNC’s Diamond DeShields and Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas. The pair lived up to their billings.
Freshman sensation DeShields put up 22 points while three-time ACC player of the year Thomas scored 24 points of her own to set the career scoring record for the Terps.
“Outstanding job by Carolina on the defensive end. Offensively we did some more things today. Again, you see the talent of Diamond DeShields going in the post and taking advantage of her outstanding skills also in the post. She’s not showed a lot of that this year, but she showed a variety of moves tonight,” Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder says.
Carolina used impressive defensive intensity to stymie the Maryland offensive attack early on and claim an 11-point advantage at halftime.
But Maryland came roaring back in the second half thanks to some inspiring play by Thomas that trimmed UNC’s lead down to a mere one point with under a minute remaining in the contest.
Crucially, Carolina’s Brittany Rountree hit two free throws with 16 seconds left to push the margin back out to three. And when Thomas missed a wide open three-pointer for the tie in the final seconds, the Tar Heels escaped with the win.
Allisha Gray provided a 17-point contribution while Xylina McDaniel posted 10 points for Carolina.
Next up for the Tar Heels is an opportunity to record a third win over their bitter rivals, the Duke Blue Devils. That semifinal is slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m. from the Greensboro Coliseum.
N.C. State and undefeated Notre Dame meet in the afternoon semifinal matchup. The winners will meet in Sunday night’s championship game.
***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.
***Listen to the story***
But Head Coach Roy Williams says he will always consider Maryland an ACC school. He also says there is no rest for the weary in conference play as the Tar Heels hit the hardwood for the fourth time in the last nine days.
“This is a pretty tough league. Playing three games in a week is not conducive to being fresh I guess,” Coach Williams says.
UNC’s Brice Johnson says the Tar Heels never gave up on the season despite the less than desirable 0-3 start in the ACC. Johnson says his teammates doubled their efforts to rally back to respectability.
“It’s all about everybody in that locker room. We’re the ones that are out there sweating, going to practice every day, going to weights every other day, and battling with each other every day just to go out on that court and produce. At the end of the day, it’s about us,” Johnson says.
Carolina came out with an aggressive mindset against the Wolfpack on Saturday. And Johnson says that’s the brand of basketball we can expect to see more of from the Tar Heels.
“That’s the way we need to play all the time. Coach always tells us we need to get the other team’s big men in foul trouble. At the end of the game, when they need those people, they won’t be in there. That’s the way we need to play. We need to attack at all times,” Johnson says.
Junior forward James Michael McAdoo identifies two keys to Carolina’s success: playing with a sense of urgency and avoiding any lapses in concentration.
“We’re emphasizing lately to play with a sense of urgency for 40 minutes and not having long letdowns when other teams make their runs – just staying together out there on the court and relying on each other,” McAdoo says.
UNC leads the all-time series against Maryland 121-57 and downed the Terps 79-76 in their last meeting a year ago in the ACC Tournament semifinals in Greensboro.
In fact, the Tar Heels have won seven in a row in the series, last dropping a contest to Maryland way back in 2010 after a massive snowstorm in College Park.
The Tar Heels could certainly use a win on Tuesday. UNC will play four of its last six regular season games on the road.http://chapelboro.com/unc-mens-basketball/acc-farewell-tar-heels-welcome-terps-chapel-hill-final-time-conference
CHAPEL HILL – Strong three-point shooting and an early second-half run pushed the No. 8 Maryland women’s basketball team past No. 10 North Carolina, 79-70 Sunday afternoon in the ACC tipoff.
Free throws kept the Tar Heels in the game early. UNC shot 10-13 from the charity stripe in the first half.
Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough couldn’t be stopped in the first 20 as the two combined for 24 of the 40 first half points. The Terrapins also out rebounded the Tar Heels 22-15 taking the 40-31 score into the locker room.
Maryland went on a 17-9 run to open the second half in which Carolina had to burn two timeouts. That run also included a 13-2 run in three minutes resulting in the second of the timeouts.
***Listen to the Call by Walter Storholt on the Tar Heel Sports Network***
However, UNC came out of that timeout with a 9-0 run of its own.
***Listen to the Call by Walter Storholt on the Tar Heel Sports Network***
The Tar Heels brought it all the way back to a six-point hole, but didn’t have enough time to stay out of the fouling game, and the contest came down to free throws.
Just as Carolina was so strong from the free-throw line in the first half, it struggled in the second. UNC only shot 10-23 in the second frame. Maryland connected on 20 of 23 from the charity stripe in the game.
Stephanie Mavunga led the Tar Heels for the second-straight game with 15 points and seven rebounds. Latifah Coleman added 13 points; Diamond DeShields had 12.
With the loss, Carolina fell to 12-3, 0-1 in the ACC; Maryland improved to 13-1, 1-0.
The Tar Heels host the NC State Wolfpack Thursday at 6:00 p.m. closing their four-game homestand that spans more than two and a half weeks.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Sixth-ranked North Carolina came off a 10-day hiatus from action and gave up an early goal but rallied past Maryland 3-1 in women’s soccer action Sunday afternoon at Fetzer Field. Three different Tar Heel players scored goals in front of a crowd of 1,742 and a nationally syndicated TV audience on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network.
Carolina has now won three straight games since back-to-back losses in mid-September. UNC is now 10-2 overall and 4-2 in the ACC. Carolina has already equaled its regular-season win total from a year ago. Maryland fell to 7-6 overall on the season and 3-4 in the ACC.
The Tar Heels outshot the Terrapins 19-4 on the day and had a 9-2 edge in shots on goal. UNC also had the majority of the corner kicks, taking eight as compared to three for the Terps.
Rachelle Beanlands played the whole way for Maryland in goal and made five saves. UNC’s Bryane Heaberlin and Anna Sieloff split duties in the goal for the Tar Heels. Sieloff registered the only save of the game for the home side.
The Terps struck quickly, notching a goal just 17 seconds into the match. Maryland’s leading scorer, Hayley Brock, dispossessed a UNC defender in the far right corner of the pitch and then fed a perfect ball into the center of the penalty area where Lauren Berman one-timed it on a rope into the lower left corner of the frame from 12 yards out. The only time Carolina has surrendered a quicker goal at the start of a match was December 7, 2008 when Notre Dame scored 16 seconds into the NCAA championship game at Cary, N.C. The Tar Heels rallied to win that game 2-1 with two second-half goals from Casey Nogueira.
The early goal by the Terps knocked Carolina on its heels and shocked the large crowd but UNC would fight back and dominate the remainder of the first half.
Carolina almost evened things up when Kealia Ohai sent a shot from the top of the box off a corner kick in the 12th minute which was headed for the back of the net but a Maryland defender was there just inside the left post to volley the ball away, earning a team save. Carolina kept the pressure up and a shot by Crystal Dunn in the 21st minute resulted in a handball in the box by a Terp defender. UNC’s Summer Green stepped to the 12-yard mark and sent her penalty kick into the left side of the goal to tie the game at 1-1 at the 20:10 mark. It was Green’s fourth goal of the campaign.
The best chance for either team to score the rest of the first half came at 32:17 when Kealia Ohaitried to one-time a shot from eight yards out past Beanlands who was able to knock it away and keep the game tied.
Beanlands made two terrific saves in the opening minutes of the second half to keep the game deadlocked. She denied Kelly McFarlane off a corner kick by Katie Bowen, diving to her left to keep the ball from going inside the right post 2:04 into the second half. A little over a minute later,Crystal Dunn had a shot from 20 yards out that appeared to be headed into the top shelf before Beanlands knocked it over the bar for a corner kick.
The game’s momentum then shifted in the 57th minute of play when the Terps were able to spring Riley Barger free past the UNC defense but her shot from 12 yards out in the right side of the box was gobbled up by Anna Sieloff. Just 58 seconds later, the Heels made the Terps pay for that missed opportunity as Dunn stripped a defender of the ball, dribbled into the left side of the box and fed a perfect ball to Ohai. The senior forward was composed with her touch and sent it past Beanlands into the right side of the goal for her sixth tally of the season. The goal officially came at 57:57.
With 23 minutes to play, UNC defender Hanna Gardner thwarted a potential breakaway by the Terps’ Brock, shielding her off from the ball as the two raced shoulder-to-shoulder through the penalty area to earn a goal kick for Carolina. The Tar Heels then got the insurance goal with 17:55 left in the match as Satara Murray scored her first goal of the season and the second of her career. Murray headed home a corner kick by Paige Nielsen, beating Beanlands and the Terp defense to the ball. It was just UNC’s second goal off a corner kick this season, the other being a game winner byCaroline Lindquist in a 2-1 win over New Mexico on August 30. Murray’s only other career goal came in last year’s 4-1 national championship game victory over Penn State.
The Terps had one final dangerous chance, again generated by Brock, with 14 minutes to play but the Tar Heel defense had enough time to organize and shut it down before Brock could get off the shot.
The Tar Heels’ win was its first over the Terrapins since Carolina beat Maryland 1-0 on November 21, 2009 in an NCAA Tournament third round game at Fetzer Field on a late goal by Casey Nogueira. The Terps had won the regular season meetings in 2010 (Chapel Hill) and 2011 and 2012 (both College Park) by 2-1 scores. In both 2010 and 2011, the Terps spotted Carolina a 1-0 lead and came back to win. Maryland is one of only three programs to have recorded three straight wins over the Heels, the others being Santa Clara and Florida State. The Terps were the first ACC team to ever beat Carolina three times in a row.
The Tar Heels return to the pitch on Thursday when they play host to NC State at 7 p.m. at Fetzer Field. Tickets are $5 general admission and can be purchased now at the Ticket Center on GoHeels.com. UNC faculty, staff and students will be admitted free with their UNC One Cards.
Thursday’s game will be televised live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN and also broadcast live on WCHL (97.9 FM/1360 AM/Chapelboro.com).http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/womens-soccers-acc-win-streak-continues-beating-maryland-3-1
COLLEGE PARK, MD – The UNC softball team dropped its first two games against Maryland Saturday in College Park, 9-4, 9-1.
Carolina led twice in game one, each time by a single run, but only for half an inning each time. Maryland had the answer as it tied the contest at one after two, and took the game over in the fifth, 6-2.
The Terrapins followed the Tar Heels’ two-run sixth inning with three of their own to take the 9-4 lead and hold on for the win.
UNC took a one-run lead again in the second contest, but in the bottom of the sixth, nine Terrapin runs shut down the contest in a run rule with two outs and one left on base.
Senior Constance Orr tallied her team-leading 15th homerun of the season in game one.
With the losses, Carolina fell to 37-18, 12-8 and in fourth place in the ACC—one game behind N.C. State with one game left in the regular season. The Wolfpack owns the tiebreaker as it took the series against the Tar Heels, 2-1 in Raleigh. Maryland improved to 29-23, 11-6 and in second in the ACC.
First pitch in game three of the series is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. in College Park.