“I was happy for the guys and the students storming the court,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said after the game. “I was more concerned about the North Carolina State players and nothing happening. We haven't won a big game since Greivis [Vasquez] was here. I didn't come here to be mediocre, and I don't think the players came here to be mediocre. I asked them before the game why they came here. I told them I came here to be part of something that is much bigger than myself: Maryland basketball - tremendous tradition and a very storied program. I came here to do great things. We haven't done a lot of great things since I have come here, but this is one great thing. Hopefully it will lead to a lot of other things and help us in areas down the road.”
“This win is going to help us a lot,” Nick Faust said. “I think our confidence is going to grow. Having a great win like this is good for us, especially since it was the first big one in a while.”
Alex Len led the Terrapins with 10 points and six rebounds, but it was his last two points that pushed the Terps to a win on Wednesday night as he picked up Pe'Shon Howard's last second air ball and put it through the hoop for the win. Seth Allen had nine points, Shaquille Cleare had eight points and five rebounds and Howard finished with seven points and five boards. Faust added six points and grabbed seven boards in his new role at point guard.
“It's a great feeling,” Allen said. “All week Coach talked about making a mark in history. He's always stressed that it takes hard work. I think we worked hard and got a great win tonight.”
The Terps faced a tough challenge, having lost two straight and facing one of the hottest teams in the nation in the Wolfpack. N.C. State pulled off a huge win last Saturday, defeating conference rival and top-ranked Duke.
The Terrapins had their hands full containing N.C. State's offense, one of the most efficient in the nation, but held them to 31.1 percent shooting in the game and 22.6 percent in the first half. The Wolfpack's inability to make free throws also hurt them as they only made 58.3 percent of their shots from the line. Maryland also had a subpar shooting night, converting only 34.4 percent of their field goals, but their defense was enough to pull out the win.
“We guarded our butts off tonight,” Allen said. “It took a lot of effort; it's because we are such a deep team. North Carolina State doesn't play that many guys. We were fresh coming off the bench and were able to play harder.”
After struggling offensively in the past two games, the Terrapins started the game off with a 10-0 run in the first six minutes of the game. The Terps saw their lead disappear with a 7-0 from N.C. State cutting Maryland's lead to one. The Terps would find their scoring touch near the end of the first half, entering halftime with a 22-16 lead.
The Terps would come out hot in the second half, leading 30-21 just three minutes into the half. A free throw by C.J. Leslie would pull the Wolfpack within two points, but the Terps would respond to pull away again. The Wolfpack led by Lorenzo Brown pulled within two with under seven minutes to play in the game and Richard Howell would convert a second chance layup to tie the game up at 45 apiece. Scott Wood then sank a shot from downtown to give the Wolfpack their first lead of the game. The Terps would not sit down though and would retake the lead with an alley-oop from Howard to Len. Brown would respond with a jumper for N.C. State to retake the lead, but with time trickling down, it was the Terps who stepped up and made the shot that count. Howard had the ball and was driving to the hoop, but shot an air ball. Len was right there though and put the ball in.
"[Pe'Shon Howard] says it wasn't a miss, it was a pass,” Len said. “The play was for Logan [Aronhalt], but Pe'Shon was driving it. He said it was a pass, I don't know what it was. I just tipped it in."
“Coach drew it up, but it broke down when we ran it,” Allen said. “We learned from past losses that we should drive the basket. Pe'Shon drove hard and they had three defenders guarding the ball. On the miss Alex crashed the boards like he always does and made a great play.”
Brown led all scorers with 17 points and eight rebounds for the Wolfpack and Leslie had 13 points and five boards. Howell finished the night with eight points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
“Give them credit,” Turgeon said about N.C. State. “They are very talented offensively but they are more talented defensively than I anticipated. That is one heck of a basketball team, and they are going to win a lot of games.”
The Terrapins have played the Wolfpack since 1925 and came into the matchup with a 76-73 all-time series lead. The Wolfpack defeated the Terps last season, 79-74, in Raleigh, N.C., ending a nine-game win streak for the Terps. With the win the Terps had won the last five match-ups in College Park, Md.
Former Maryland head coach Gary Williams was honored at halftime with an original piece of art that was commissioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Association of Basketball Coaches celebrating 75 years of March Madness. Williams coached the Terps to the national championship in 2002 when they defeated Indiana to clinch the title.
With the win, the Terrapins improve to 14-3 on the season and 2-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. N.C. State falls to 14-3 overall and 3-1 in the ACC. The Terps will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. on Saturday to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels. Tip-off is scheduled for noon.