Sunday , Mar , 14 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Johnny be good: Gilchrist leads Terps comeback

Greensboro, NC (Sports Network) – John Gilchrist scored 30 points to lead the
Maryland Terrapins to a come-from-behind 85-82 win over 17th-ranked N.C. State
in semifinal action of the ACC Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum.

Gilchrist shot 11-of-13 from the floor, scoring 23 points in the second half,
as sixth-seeded Maryland (18-11) overcame a 19-point halftime deficit to earn
a berth in the championship game on Sunday against fifth-ranked and top-seeded

“When you’re backed against the wall, and you know its do or die time, that’s
just going to show the heart and character of our team,” Gilchrist said of
Maryland’s attitude. “Going through the rough turbulence that we had this
season, it really helped us out as a team to come and deal with situations
like that.”

The five-time defending ACC Tournament champion Blue Devils defeated Georgia
Tech 85-71 earlier in the day to record their 17th straight tournament

Jamar Smith added 23 points and seven boards for the Terps, who most likely
secured their berth in the NCAA Tournament. Maryland had been considered a
bubble team despite having one of the toughest schedules in the nation.

“You can talk all you want as a coach, but unless you get like the one sitting
next to me (John Gilchrist) and Jamar Smith it doesn’t matter,” said Maryland
head coach Gary Williams of what was said at halftime. “We have had a lot of
pride on this team this year and that is what is important in that situation.

“I had a lot of confidence in these guys after halftime. We wanted to play and
that was the key.”

Julius Hodge scored 31 points to lead the second-seeded Wolfpack (20-9), which
had a two-game winning streak snapped and lost for the third time in five
games. Ilian Evtimov added 19 points and seven boards, as NC State suffered
one of the biggest collapses in ACC Tournament history.

Trailing by 19 points at halftime, Maryland used high-pressure defense and
efficient shooting to get back into the game. The Terps used a 30-10 run to
open the half to take their first lead of the game, 56-55. Gilchrist’s trey
with 12:04 left capped the run, which saw him score 16 points.

Later, with the Wolfpack leading 65-63, Gilchrist hit a three with 7:34 left
for a one-point lead. D.J. Strawberry then stole the ensuing inbounds pass
and converted a layup for a 68-65 edge.

The Terps would continue to lead, extending their advantage to as many as five
points, 79-74, thanks to a Gilchrist trey with 5:45 left.

NC State then trimmed the lead to 79-78 after a Evtimov layup with 2:12 left.
However, Maryland responded when Chris McCray hit a field goal with 48 seconds
left for an 81-78 lead.

Hodge had a chance to make it a two-point game on the ensuing possession, but
he hit only one-of-two from the line with 29 seconds left and Nik Caner-Medley
scored his only points by connecting on four straight from the line to ice the

“They made the big plays that we didn’t,” NC State head coach Herb Sendek said
of the second half collapse. “We didn’t have as much of a lift as we
usually do off of the bench, but sometimes that’s going to happen. You have to
find ways to win and we didn’t.”

McCray finished with 12 points for Maryland, which shot an amazing 21-of-31
for 67.7 percent from the floor in the second half after shooting 10-of-24 for
41.7 percent in the first.

NC State shot only 12-of-28 for 43 percent in the second half. The Wolfpack
had shot 63 percent (15-of-24) in the first half.

“I thought the way we came out and played the first half was probably as well
as we can execute,” Sendek said. “I thought we were really in-sync and
playing sharp basketball. Our guys knew it was a 40-minute game and we
certainly didn’t have any thoughts that the game was over at halftime.”

Leading 16-15 eight minutes into the game, NC State went on a 25-7 run to go
up by 19 points. Hodge’s conversion of a three-point play following a dunk
capped the run, which gave the Wolfpack a 41-22 cushion with 3:32 left.
Evtimov had eight points and Hodge had five points during the burst, as NC
State cruised into halftime with a 45-26 lead.

NC State used strong perimeter shooting to take the halftime lead, going 7-
for-11 from three-point land in the opening 20 minutes. Maryland, on the other
hand, went only 1-for-6 from behind the arc. The six more treys were just
about the difference in the scoring.

Evtimov led all scorers at the break with 15 points, shooting 4-for-4 from
three and 5-for-5 overall. Hodge added 13 first-half points, using 7-for-7
shooting from the free throw line.