“Amazing” Atmosphere Surrounds Terps’ 92-71 Throttling of Tar Heels

February 07, 2010 | Glenn Clark

College Park, MD Perhaps we should call it “revenge of snow game.”

On January 27, 2000; North Carolina students were asked to move down to the court after a 20 inch snowstorm in Chapel Hill limited how many season ticket holders could attend a scheduled game at the Dean Smith Center. The Tar Heels would fight their way to a 75-63 win over Maryland, which would lead Gary Williams to say afterward “Not in this atmosphere, we weren’t going to put Carolina away tonight.”

On Sunday afternoon, Maryland students were offered the chance to fill empty seats after season ticket holders were unable to reach College Park; and they created an atmosphere that made it practically impossible for a reeling North Carolina team to get over the hump. Despite cutting a 16 point lead Maryland lead to as close as 52-49 in the 2nd half; the Terrapins fought back, winning 92-71.

After the game, Gary Williams was clearly emotional in describing the atmosphere at Comcast Center as “amazing.”

It would be much too easy to look at the final 17 minutes of the game or the final score and just dismiss the performance by saying something like “well, Carolina stinks.” However, Carolina shaved multiple double digit Maryland leads down to 1 or 2 possession margins before ultimately watching the Terps finish the game by scoring 40 of the last 62 points. Deon Thompson and Marcus Ginyard were particularly feisty for the Heels, combining for 33 points.

But every time the Heels managed to get something going, the Terps fed off an inspired crowd to create offense from defense. Outside shooting was particularly helpful, as they drained 12 of 23 3 point attempts, including 10-16 from seniors Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes.

As usual, the three seniors seemed to feed off the crowd as much as anyone; with Hayes, Vasquez and Milbourne combining to score 57 points, pull down 14 boards, dish out 16 assists, and collect 4 blocks.

The atmosphere spoke to the beauty of college athletics. While some Maryland games become a “who’s who” of courtside celebrities from the two surrounding markets (Steve Bisciotti, Adam Jones, John Harbaugh and Clinton Portis are amongst the NFL and MLB players who have been noticed courtside this season), today was about a group of kids (and particularly dedicated alumni) who made sure to get to the arena, no matter what the had to do. (Gary Williams humorously quipped that fans had told him they would have taken a “dogsled” if necessary.)

Instead of showing up at today’s game because it was the place “to be seen”, or because big money friends were also going to be in attendance; fans showed up with the single purpose of doing everything they could to help their team.

The number of students in attendance (students were permitted to enter with a valid ID whether or not they had an actual game ticket) lead to some undesirable if not unsurprising chanting, with things like “UNC Sucks” and “N-I-T” being popular exclaims. Perhaps after the vocal abuse Greivis Vasquez and teammates took at the Leon County Civic Center Thursday night, Gary Williams was right to defend some nastiness from Maryland students-who created a scene Eric Hayes could only describe as “crazy.”

More importantly, Hayes went on to describe the scene  ”as loud as I’ve ever heard it in here.”

Whether or not he’s right, there’s no doubt that the students and fans in attendance made a difference in a big game.

-G

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3:58 p.m. — We’ll be back soon with the post-game wrap. Check out the final stats right here.

3:57 p.m. — Henson hits the 18-footer from the corner, but the Terps can just dribble it out from here.

Final score: Maryland 92, North Carolina 71.

Not much to be unhappy about at all this afternoon (except the conditions on I-95).

3:55 p.m. — Here come Ersin Levent and David Pearman. What a thrill for those two to log some playing time against North Carolina.

3:54 p.m. — Some students beginning to chant “We want Duke!” The Terps will need to be ready for a very surprising Virginia team on Wednesday night. A trip to Durham will follow after that.

3:53 p.m. — The Terps work some clock with Vasquez taking a long 3, and it’s no good. We’re inside two minutes to go in this one.

3:52 p.m. — Milbourne has eclipsed the 1,000 point mark for his career. Congratulations to the senior foward. That last dunk actually gave him 1,002.

3:50 p.m. — Off a missed Carolina 3, Mosley throws it to a streaking Milbourne for the breakaway dunk. We’ve reached the final media timeout of the game with Maryland holding a 88-65 lead over the Tar Heels.

Many folks are starting to hit the exits, and they’ll be going home happy for sure.

3:48 p.m. — Maryland fans chanting N-I-T as Davis steps to the ine for two shots. He misses them both. While Carolina has clearly struggled this season, you have to give Maryland a heck of a lot of credit today. The Terps have just shot the ball unbelievably well at 54.5 percent from beyond the arc.

3:46 p.m. — You have to like seeing the Terps get the ball inside to Padgett. These may not be critical minutes for today’s game, but they can be crucial in his development and chances of making an impact later in the season.

He makes 1-of-2 from the line.

3:45 p.m. — Williams just picked up his fourth personal, but a 22-point lead will make you feel a bit better about that. Padgett checks in for Williams as Davis hits a pair of freebies.

3:44 p.m. — Mosley with the nice give inside to Williams who finishes the bucket.

Maryland now leads 81-61 with 5:47 to play. Just an incredible 10-minute stretch of basketball for the Terps.

3:42 p.m. — Thompson with some tough play inside to hit the 6-foot jump shot with Williams playing tough defense.

Mosley hits the jumper from the foul line on the other end to give him six points for the game.

3:37 p.m. — Mosley with the soft jumper from the elbow, but Ginyard answers with a 3-pointer right away.

Vasquez with ANOTHER 3-pointer. This is downright silly at this point. What a game for the senior from Caracas.

Nothing doing for Carolina on the other end, and the Terps get in transition again with Bowie finding Mosley for the layup. The lead is 18 points, the biggest of the day. Timeout, North Carolina.

3:35 p.m. — Everything clicking for the Terps over the last few minutes. Vasquez gets it to Gregory in the paint of the in-bounds pass, and the junior slams it home with AUTHORITY!

3:32 p.m. — WOW! Vasquez with the pull-up 3-pointer, and the lead is up to 14 points. That’s the exact shot Vasquez could not hit in the William & Mary game, but I suppose it’s a good shot today with him making it. Funny how that works. LOL

3:30 p.m. — Vasquez and Hayes are putting on an absolute show here at Comcast Center. Vasquez now with 20 points while Hayes is close behind with 16.

3:29 p.m. — Hayes with ANOTHER three, and this place is absoute bedlam!

I cannot even hear myself thing.

Timeout on the floor! Maryland is up by 11 points with 11:17 remaining.

3:27 p.m. — Ginyard drives the lane and Gregory picks up the blocking foul. Crowd didn’t like it, but the Maryland big man was not set.

He hits 1-of-2 to cut the lead to four points.

Vasquez misses the floater in the lane, but Gregory is there for the offensive board and the jump hook. Big play for Dino there.

3:25 p.m. — Gregory with the big rejection and following a beautiful Vasquez pass, Gregory tries to finish it off, but he’s fouled.

He hits a pair, and the lead is up to seven. I’m sure Glenn already mentioned this earlier, but it’s just an electric atmosphere here at Comcast with the students filling up the place.

3:23 – Thompson hits a pair of freebies to cut the lead to three as the Heels have come out hot in the second half.

With the shot clock winding down, Hayes hits a runner in the lane. The Terps needed that bucket, big time.

After the Tucker foul, Graves scores again. Teams just trading buckets right now.

3:20 -This is Luke Jones taking over for Glenn after FINALLY making it to College Park. Just a brutal ride from southern Pennsylvania to get here. Took nearly four hours, and, no, I did not travel by horse and buggy.

We’ve reached an official timeout with Maryland continuing to hold a 52-47 lead.

3:16-John Henson (yeah, him) just threw down a POSTERIZING dunk to make things REALLY close. 52-47 Terps now, and Gary Williams is forced to call his 2nd timeout. Heels always seem to have an answer.

3:13-Deon Thompson is LEGIT. Every time Maryland sarts to pull away, he keeps Carolina close. A pair of free throws from Hayes gives him 10, Terps up 52-42. Thompson has 12 to lead UNC.

3:11-Jordan Williams is imposing his will early on in the 2nd half. He has 4 points since the break, building Maryland’s lead back to 50-37. Deon Thompson cuts into that lead, making it 50-39 with 17:30 to play.

3:07-Terps out-rebounded Heels 21-19 in first half despite not having any player with more than 3 boards. 14 pts for Vasquez, 9 for Hayes to lead all scorers. 7 each for Graves, Thompson and Ginyard to lead the Heels; Tucker and Milbourne each had 7 for Maryland.

2:51-Game-high 14 for Vasquez after a 3 ball that puts Terps up 44-34. They can’t add anything on their final possession, but they’ll be happy to take a double digit advantage with them to the locker room.

2:49-Is there anything more frustrating than watching Adrian Bowie’s dreadful line-drive push jump shots? Ugh. Two freebies from Ginyard make it 41-34 Maryland, James Padgett into the game.

2:44-What a big shot for Landon Milbourne after Carolina had been so effective on their defensive rotation. A layup for Adrian Bowie re-extends Maryland’s lead to 39-30 with 3:04 to play in the half at the final media timeout.

2:42-Carolina is doing a really good job of rotating a 2nd defender to the ball now. With their shooters heating up (Leslie McDonald just nailed a jumper); they’ve cut Maryland’s lead all the way down to 34-30. Maryland shooters can’t be tentative.

2:39-You knew this was coming….a Dexter Strickland 3 makes it a 10-0 run for Carolina. Vasquez cuts to the hoop to end the run; but Davis responds, and Gary Williams is forced to call timeout with his lead trimmed to 34-28.

2:35-Carolina responded quickly, reeling off 5 points before the third official timeout to make it 32-21. They’ve been quick to try to get back down the floor after Maryland hoops, knowing Greivis and company have a tendency to pose and work the crowd after scoring. 7:39 to play in the half.

2:32-Greivis Vasquez absolutely SPLIT two Carolina defenders to find Tucker wide open for 3. Another Vasquez 3 puts Maryland up 30-16, and a Gregory hoop inside makes it 32-16. Wow.

2:29-Cliff Tucker enters the game for the first time, helping Maryland get 3 points back to re-extend their lead to 9 at 22-13. Jordan Williams back into the game.

2:26-With Dino Gregory in the game, Carolina looked to go right inside to Ed Davis. That decision paid off; and a 4-0 Heels run cut Maryland’s lead to 19-13 with 11:32 at the 2nd media timeout of the half.

2:23-Another 3 from Hayes, and Maryland is up 19-9. Roy Williams forced to take his first timeout as Comcast Center EXPLODES following an offensive foul call on David Wear.

2:21-Eric Hayes is heating up from outside early on, as he connects on his second 3-ball. A Deon Thompson free throw cuts Maryland’s lead to 13-9. The near-capacity crowd in attendance is certainly making things difficult for Carolina shooters.

Another 3 from Vasquez extends Maryland’s lead to 16-9.

2:17-The PA announcer here in College Park has now invited all fans to move down and fill up the empty seats inside Comcast Center. They’re obviously trying to get a better idea of how many more fans can be invited in the doors. Only a few rows at the top of the arena are empty.

2:15-Landon Milbourne had been REALLY good before missing an open dunk-but sometimes the breaks go your way. Eric Hayes corralled the long rebound and drilled a 3. Maryland is up 10-8 with 15:27 to play at the first official timeout.

2:12-Greivis Vasquez wants to shoot early; his 3 helped give Maryland a 5-4 lead. Gary went to Adrian Bowie for hustle off the bench; but a Deon Thompson bucket has Carolina back ahead 6-5 3 minutes into the game.

2:07-I always thought I’d be good in the role of “designated chest bumper” during pre-game introductions. Certainly David Pearman handles it well himself. Also of note: the students now chant back “Eh-san” after assistant coach Rob Ehsan is introduced. Perhaps they want to show him some love after finding out he was the lowest paid assistant in the ACC (per an article by “Comcast Morning Show” correspondent Patrick Stevens-late Washington Times).

2:04-Maryland honored former head coach Bud Millikan (Gary Williams’ head coach during his playing days) with a moment of silence before today’s game. Millikan passed away 10 days ago, this is the first home game since his death.

1:56-With students now allowed to take any seats they’d like, Comcast Center is filling up nicely. Should be a much more hostile environment for the Heels than we may have expected given the weather.

1:47-Certainly the matchup to watch in this game will be down low; where Jordan Williams, Landon Milbourne, Dino Gregory and James Padgett will have to contend with the likes of Ed Davis, Deon Thompson, Travis & David Wear and Tyler Zeller. Should the Terps be able to neutralize the Tar Heels in the middle, the veteran Maryland guards should be able to find success against a UNC team that can’t be thrilled with the production they’ve gotten from Marcus Ginyard, Larry Drew and Will Graves in the backcourt.

Your lineups are Williams, Milbourne, Sean Mosley, Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes for Maryland; Davis, Thompson, Graves, Ginyard and Drew for Carolina.

Buck Williams is the honorary captain for today’s game.

1:28-Greetings from Comcast Center in College Park, where a handful of people have braved the snow to see the Maryland Terrapins (15-6, 5-2) face the North Carolina Tar Heels (13-9, 2-5) in an ACC showdown. The Terps are looking for their 6th win in their last 8 tries against the Heels here in College Park, they’re also looking to improve to 5-6 since Roy Williams took over as head man in Chapel Hill.

At 1:45, Maryland officials intend to open the doors to all students on campus, regardless of whether or not they have tickets. This could be of greater benefit to the Terps, as the students here usually save some of their harshest material for visits from teams like UNC-even if they have lost 5 of their last 6 games. We’re about a half an hour away from tip, and there are thousands of empty seats-with travel in the Baltimore and Washington areas both particularly difficult to navigate.

Maryland has had success playing in front of mostly student crowds before. In 2003, they beat Wake Forest after an awful storm that produced similar situations. In 2000, Carolina thrived in very similar circumstances, beating Maryland 75-63 after students were allowed to fill up the Dean Smith Center that had many empty seats following 20 inches of snow.

With a win, the Terps would remain tied with Duke in the loss column, and just a half game back of the Blue Devils overall in the ACC standings. The Terps and Devils meet this coming Saturday for the first time at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham. The Heels are in absolute desperation mode at this point; knowing it would be particularly to get back to .500 in ACC play if they were to start 2-6.  The Terps are coming off a gutty 71-67 win over Florida State in Tallahassee Thursday night, the Heels dropped a 74-70 decision at Virginia Tech on Thursday night.

Luke Jones is reportedly on his way, but not scheduled to make it here before tip-off. If he does get here, he’ll take over the live blog. If not, it’s you and me until Drew Forrester’s live chat starts at 4pm.

The Terps are in their gold uniforms again today. The game can be seen live on Fox Sports Net (Comcast SportsNet locally), Mike Hogewood is subbing in for Tim Brando on the call, with Mike Gminski handling color and Debbie Antonelli patrolling the sidelines.

-G

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