North Carolina 84

(17-14, 6-10 ACC)

(14) Maryland 72

(19-9, 11-5 ACC)

    7:00 PM ET, March 14, 2003

    Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina

    1 2 T
    UNC 36 4884
    #14MD 40 3272

    Williams, Felton and Scott prove too much for Maryland

    Quarterfinal Results
    Duke 83, Virginia 76
    Wake Forest 69, Florida State 61
    N.C. State 71, Georgia Tech 65

    GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina didn't want to think about its last meeting with Maryland, when a 40-point victory by the Terrapins saddled the Tar Heels with their worst conference defeat in history.

    In the back of their minds, the sting from that humiliating defeat Feb. 22 never went away.

    But the Tar Heels eased much of the pain Friday night, bouncing the defending national champions out of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament with an 84-72 victory in the quarterfinals.

    ''We were embarrassed the last time we played them,'' forward David Noel said. ''When you get beat by 40, you don't want to see anybody on campus the next day.

    ''That was the low point of the season. This is the high point. It doesn't get any better.''

    Jawad Williams scored a career-high 25 points, Raymond Felton had 20 points and 10 assists and Melvin Scott added a career-high 19 points to lead the seventh-seeded Tar Heels (17-14).

    North Carolina is rolling at the right time of the season and in the right building. The Tar Heels improved to 31-10 in ACC tournament play at Greensboro Coliseum, where they have won seven titles. They also have 100 victories overall in their home away from home.

    ''We believe in what we're doing now,'' said Rashad McCants, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds. ''We're a confident team, and it shows in our play.''

    North Carolina also pulled off its second consecutive upset.

    The Tar Heels beat Duke five days earlier in the regular-season finale. Now coach Matt Doherty said he thinks his team is making a case for the NCAA Tournament.

    ''We're playing our best basketball right now and I think we should get some consideration,'' he said. ''We should be a topic of conversation in their war room.''

    The defeat was yet another ACC tournament failure for second-seeded Maryland (19-9; No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 14 Associated Press). The Terps have been to the tournament semifinals the past eight years, but haven't won a title since 1984.

    ''We didn't show enough emotion or passion to win this tournament,'' said Drew Nicholas, who scored 18 points for Maryland. ''This is as good as it gets. When I walked on the floor, I wanted to play three games this weekend and we didn't play well enough to make that happen.''

    North Carolina, which trailed almost the entire first half, came out swinging in the final 20 minutes.

    Playing without Jackie Manuel, their best defender, who went out four minutes into the game with a strained right arch, the Tar Heels were able to stifle Nicholas while opening up their offense.

    Nicholas, who had 15 points at halftime on 6-for-10 shooting, couldn't shake Scott in the second half.

    He didn't score for almost 10 minutes while Maryland suffered from turnovers, sloppy passes and poor shooting.

    Nicholas finished with just three points in the second half, and wound up 7-for-14 from the floor.

    North Carolina jumped all over Maryland's mistakes, and Scott was solid from long range. He made three 3-pointers in a furious 20-7 run.

    The Tar Heels trailed 48-43 before the run. But Scott's fifth 3-pointer put North Carolina up 63-55 with 8:09 to play.

    Maryland coach Gary Williams, furious with the Terrapins throughout the entire game, called a timeout to chastise his squad once again.

    It didn't really help. Maryland's defense broke down right out of the timeout, and Felton was left open to hit a 3-pointer for a 66-55 North Carolina lead.

    The Terrapins were able to make it close after Tahj Holden's layup and Steve Blake's 3-pointer cut it to 68-61, but North Carolina wouldn't roll over.

    Williams brought the crowd to its feet with a powerful one-handed slam dunk off an alley-oop pass from Felton. Scott followed with a pair of free throws to push the lead to 72-61 with 3:08 to play.

    Blake finished with 12 points for Maryland, and John Gilchrist added 10.

    ''I know we're down right now, but we'll be back next week and we'll see what we can do,'' Williams said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    2002-03 Season

    Jan 22, 2003 MD 81, @UNC 66Recap
    Feb 22, 2003 @MD 96, UNC 56Recap
    » Mar 14, 2003 UNC 84, @MD 72Recap