Rapid Reaction: Maryland 51, NC State 50

January, 16, 2013
1/16/13
9:15
PM ET


COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- A quick look at Maryland’s 51-50 victory Wednesday over NC State:

Overview: Somewhere, Jim Valvano is stunned.

Alex Len's last-second put-down of Pe'Shon Howard's air ball sealed the win for the Terrapins and was eerily similar to Valvano’s do-you-believe-in-miracles moment.

Only in reverse.

But this was more than just an exciting victory. This was a big one for Maryland, a team that has had a 13-game win streak this season -- yet still little, if any, heft on its résumé to show for it.

This win isn’t enough alone, but it is a step toward getting the Terps back into the NCAA tournament.

As for NC State, it’s not a killer, but the Wolfpack never looked comfortable in this game. A game after beating Duke, NC State knew it would have a target on its back visiting the hungry Terps, but never answered the bell.

Turning point: Let’s go with Len catching Howard’s air ball and putting it down for the game winner with 0.9 seconds left.

Seems like a good one.

Howard was falling out of bounds when he threw the ball up, but Len had position for the drop into the bucket.

Key player: Len only had 10 points, but he kept the Terps in this, stripping Richard Howell and serving up a block on the other end in the final minute to keep Maryland alive for its last-second miracle.

Key stat: 50. That’s how many points NC State had in this game after putting up 41 in the first half of its Saturday upset of Duke. The Wolfpack were plodding and slow, as much a product of Maryland’s defense and style as their own effort. And it made the difference. The Terps weren’t going to win going hoop for hoop with the Wolfpack.

Miscellaneous: A game after scoring 41 in the first half against Duke, NC State could muster just 16 before the break against Maryland and trailed 22-16 at intermission. … A painting of former coach Gary Williams was unveiled at halftime. The painting, part of the NCAA’s celebration of 75 years of March Madness, will be auctioned off beginning tomorrow. The painting of Williams is part of a collection of 75 individual paintings, one for each NCAA-winning coach, from 1939 to 2013. … Dez Wells and C.J. Leslie were high school teammates in Raleigh, N.C. … This was Maryland’s second sellout of the season.

Next game: NC State returns home to face Clemson on Sunday; Maryland travels to meet an increasingly desperate North Carolina on Saturday.

Dana O'Neil | email

College Basketball

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