8:00 PM ET, March 2, 2003
PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- All the Maryland players could do was laugh after making coach Gary Williams sweat out career victory No. 500.Drew Nicholas hit a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left to give Williams his milestone win and No. 14 Maryland a 68-65 victory over North Carolina State on Sunday night. "We wanted to make it close and make him sweat a lot more than normal,'' said Tahj Holden, who scored a career-high 20 points. "They're pretty funny, aren't they?'' Williams responded. The Terrapins (19-7, 11-4) trailed by 11 with 8:51 left before going on a 21-7 run to close it out and move a half-game behind ACC-leading Wake Forest with a game left. Maryland plays at Virginia on March 9. The Demon Deacons play North Carolina at home on Wednesday and then the Wolfpack here on Saturday. Nicholas added 17 points as Maryland beat the Wolfpack for the ninth time in the last 10 meetings in Raleigh. "I'm a little numb because I honestly thought N.C. State played better than we did for the majority of the game,'' Williams said. "But we really played our best basketball both times when we got down.'' Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said several of his players had been battling the flu all week, including leading scorer Julius Hodge, who was held to 12 points on 2-for-8 shooting. "In the last 10 minutes our guys started running out of gas,'' Sendek said. Nicholas and point guard Steve Blake were quiet most of the night until the final stages as Maryland shot 52 percent in the second half. Blake's only two points tied the score at 63 with 2:14 left and Nicholas was mobbed by his teammates after his winning shot over Scooter Sherrill, who led N.C. State with 14 points. "I stepped back and let it fly,'' Nicholas said. "It's a shot I work on. I'm just glad coach called my number and I was able to hit the shot.'' The Wolfpack (15-10, 8-6) tied it with 15 seconds left on a 12-footer by Marcus Melvin and then called a timeout. That allowed Maryland to set up a final play. "I thought that if we got our defense set then we could defend a good look,'' Sendek said. The loss was a blow to N.C. State's NCAA Tournament hopes. "As a competitor that's what you want to do, you want to shatter someone else's dreams,'' Blake said. There were seven lead changes and eight ties in the opening half before the Wolfpack went up by 10 early in the second. Then foul trouble hit. Josh Powell, who scored 10 of N.C. State's first 20 points, picked up his third and fourth fouls -- one on a technical -- in a span of 1:30 and Melvin soon followed him to the bench with his fourth as the Wolfpack became thin up front. The Terrapins closed to 47-45, but Melvin returned to hit a 3-pointer and add a follow shot as part of an 11-2 run as N.C. State regained control midway through the second half before Maryland's final charge. There has been bad blood between these two teams dating to last season when Hodge was suspended for one game for an elbow to the back of Blake's head. Blake was booed every time he touched the ball and was called for a technical foul for taunting Clifford Crawford with 3:01 left in the first half after Crawford blocked his shot. There were more fireworks in the final minute of the period when Melvin picked up an intentional foul -- his third -- for elbowing Holden in the face after the two big men got tangled. Maryland fell behind by six late in the half as its backcourt of Blake and Nicholas were a combined 1-for-10 from the field. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack made their first 12 free throws to run their string to 34 straight before Levi Watkins missed his attempt at a four-point play 1:33 before the break. N.C. State set a school record by going 22-for-22 in an overtime victory at North Carolina on Tuesday night.
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