Thursday , Mar , 04 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Terps keep tourney hopes alive

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) – John Gilchrist scored 21 points and keyed the
decisive run late in the second half, as Maryland pulled out a 70-69 victory
over 16th-ranked North Carolina State in a big ACC matchup at the RBC Center.

Jamar Smith added 16 points and hit a couple of important free throws in the
final minute for the Terrapins (15-11, 6-9 ACC), who won for just the second
time in six games.

Maryland rebounded from a 91-83 home loss to Wake Forest and improved its NCAA
Tournament hopes. A home win over Virginia on Sunday night would help the
Terrapins’ chances immensely for an 11th consecutive bid to the field of 65.

“The sense of urgency was there,” said Maryland head coach Gary Williams. “The
pressure was on the players. I thought they really came through well.”

Julius Hodge led North Carolina State with 27 points and Marcus Melvin added
22. The Wolfpack (18-8, 10-5) have lost two straight, both coming at home
after opening the season with 14 victories at the RBC Center.

The loss also gave Duke the ACC regular season title and the top seed in next
week’s conference tournament.

The game was tied at 62-62 with 7:47 remaining after two free throws by Hodge,
but Maryland then reeled off the next six points to pull away.

After the teams went three minutes without a point, Gilchrist scored six in a
row for Maryland on a dunk, a layup and a pair of free throws to make it a
68-62 game.

Hodge then ended NC State’s field goal drought of over seven minutes with a
jumper, and a three-point miss by Gilchrist led to a pair of Melvin free
throws to pull the Wolfpack within two with 1:18 to play.

Nik Caner-Medley missed a shot for the Terps with just over a minute left and
the Wolfpack had two chances at the other end.

Levi Watkins missed a 15-foot jumper from the left wing and the rebound went
out of bounds to NC State, although the Terrapins thought a foul should have
been called. The Wolfpack then worked the ball around for a three-point try by
Melvin that rimmed out with 22 seconds left.

Smith was fouled and made the second of two free throws with 18.8 seconds
remaining to give NC State one last chance.

Melvin forced up a three-pointer and missed badly. Smith took the rebound and
hit the first of two free throws with 4.5 seconds left to seal the contest.

Hodge drained a three-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin.

NC State played without guard Scooter Sherrill, who suffered a sprained ankle
in Sunday’s loss to North Carolina.

Gilchrist, who finished 8-of-15 from the field, did not start as punishment
for arriving late to a team function.

The Terps opened a 17-6 edge early and led by as many as 17 in the first half.
A three-pointer by Mike Jones gave Maryland a 40-23 lead with 3:42 remaining,
but NC State chipped away and pulled within 44-34 at the break.

The Wolfpack continued to cut into the lead early in the second half and a
three-pointer by Ilian Evtimov made it a 50-49 game. Evtimov added another
shot from beyond the arc moments later to give NC State a 52-50 edge with just
under 15 minutes remaining.

It remained tight over the next 7 1/2 minutes with neither team leading by
more than three.