Strawberry leads Maryland to upset of Tar Heels
College Park, MD (Sports Network) – D.J. Strawberry scored a career-high 27
points on 12-of-18 shooting as Maryland stormed back to edge fifth-ranked
North Carolina, 89-87, at the Comcast Center.
Mike Jones added 18 points for the Terrapins (22-7, 8-6 ACC), who won their
fifth straight game and may have secured an NCAA tourney berth with the upset.
James Gist chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Bambale Osby
finished with 11 points and nine boards.
“D.J. Strawberry was just a force,” Maryland coach Gary Williams said. “I
thought he was really a senior today. We got jump shot happy there for a while
and he took the ball to the basket a couple of times to make sure we all knew
how tough it was, how we expected to play if we were going to win this game.”
Tyler Hansbrough tallied 22 points for the Tar Heels (24-5, 10-4), who
fell into a three-way tie with Virginia Tech and Virginia in the ACC
standings. Wayne Ellington had 17 points and six assists and Brandan Wright
finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
“We had some great chances but you’ve got to give credit to Maryland,” said
North Carolina coach Roy Williams. “We didn’t guard them nearly as well as
wanted to. Early in the game they just kicked us as hard as you could be
kicked. They went after the basketball harder than we did.”
Maryland entered the final frame down by three and quickly deadlocked things
at 52 when Strawberry got loose for a layup with 16:14 remaining.
But, North Carolina answered strongly with a 17-7 burst to regain control.
Ty Lawson’s three, with 10:21 on the clock, gave the Tar Heels a 10-point
The Terrapins refused to give in, however, and slowly chipped away as the game
headed to the stretch. Jones buried consecutive jumpers to put Maryland on
top, 81-80, with just under three minutes to go.
“We have a pretty good belief in ourselves this year,” said Gary Williams.
“The seniors knew the game wasn’t over at that point and they knew we had some
time to come back. You work hard in practice from October to get to where you
can play these games. You just don’t walk out there with talent. We have a
good defensive unit where guys play together.”
The two teams continued to see-saw back and fourth over the next 1 1/2
minutes. Strawberry’s short jumper inside the lane gave the Terps a 85-84 lead
with 1:28 remaining.
Then, after a Lawson miss, Ekene Ibekwe was true from the line on a pair to
extend the Maryland advantage to three, 87-84.
Ellington tried to even things with a triple but came up empty and Gist hit
two more free throws to make it 89-84 with 56 ticks left.
Seven seconds later, Ellington drained a three to put North Carolina right
back in it, 89-87.
Greivis Vasquez’s turnover then gave the Tar Heels a chance to even things and
Wright got to the line with just 3.5 seconds on the clock. But, the freshman
missed both from the charity stripe and time expired as Hansbrough fought for
“This is very frustrating,” said Hansbrough. “We can’t crumble whenever the
game gets tight. We have to be tough.”
The Tar Heels roared out of the blocks and established control quickly.
Ellington’s three capped a 10-3 run to start the game with less than three
Maryland recovered from the opening salvo, however. A 7-0 run, featuring a
Strawberry three-point play, drew the Terrapins within a bucket, 34-32, with
4:32 left before intermission.
Things remained relatively tight from there and North Carolina took a 44-41
advantage into the locker room.
The Tar Heels still own a commanding 113-54 series lead over Maryland,
including an 81-57 romp over the Terps earlier this season…Maryland won the
battle of the boards, 46-33…The loss prevented North Carolina coach Roy
Williams from his 100th victory with the Tar Heels.