COLLEGE PARK, Maryland (Ticker) -- North Carolina's first visit to the Comcast Center will be remembered for one of the lowest points in the program's storied history.
In a further example of the changing fortunes of the programs, 13th-ranked Maryland rolled to a 96-56 victory over the Tar Heels, who suffered their worst loss since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference 50 years ago.
Maryland matched its most lopsided ACC win. The Terrapins had two previous 40-point victories in ACC play, most recently a 99-59 rout of South Carolina in 1958.
Making the Terrapins' victory even more impressive was the fact that they were playing their third game in six days.
"Today, I thought was going to be a tough game," said Maryland coach Gary Williams, who moved within two wins of 500 for his career. "Given the situation this week, it has been our third game since Monday and we have been traveling a bit, too. We didn't look like we had our legs, but we were grinding defensively hard enough that there wasn't a lot of easy looks for them."
In the last two seasons, Maryland has recorded its two most lopsided wins over North Carolina.
Last season, Maryland routed the Tar Heels, 112-79, at Cole Field House en route to the national championship. That one was bad for North Carolina. This one was even worse.
The Tar Heels arrived at the Comcast Center late due to transportation problems. They would have been better off staying home altogether.
"We left the hotel actually 15 minutes earlier than scheduled," North Carolina coach Matt Doherty said. "We left the hotel at 12 o'clock (for a 2 p.m. start). We always stay at the Watergate Hotel. It's always been a 45-minute drive, but it was an hour and a half day. They were removing snow (on the road)."
Only once before had North Carolina suffered a 40-point loss to one of its current ACC rivals. That was a 79-39 setback to North Carolina State on February 19, 1949, when the teams were members of the Southern Conference.
The Tar Heels needed a 3-pointer by Melvin Scott at the buzzer to avoid equaling their worst loss ever - a 63-20 setback to Lynchburg in 1915.
The start of the game was delayed five minutes to allow North Carolina additional time to warm up. Doherty did not want to use that as an excuse for the Tar Heels' poor performance.
"Maryland had more to deal with than us," Doherty said. "They had the delayed postponement of the Wake Forest game, and they've gone to Duke and come back."
The Terrapins completed their second straight season sweep of North Carolina and have won four straight against the Tar Heels, the winningest program in ACC history, for the first time since a five-game run from 1930-32.
"I think they made five 3-point shots in the first five minutes in the first eight minutes and that was all they made for the half," Williams said. "Once we took that away, I think we did a pretty good job of clogging things up. We were able to score quite a few points."
Steve Blake scored 18 points for Maryland (17-7, 9-4 ACC), which pulled into a virtual three-way tie for first in the ACC with Duke and idle Wake Forest. The Blue Devils defeated North Carolina State later on Saturday.
North Carolina (14-12, 4-8) has lost seven straight road games to likely fall out of contention for an NCAA Tournament at-large berth. The Tar Heels are just 7-9 since losing freshman center Sean May to a broken foot on December 27 and have dropped 11 of their last 12 ACC road contests.
Scott, a Maryland native, scored 12 points for North Carolina, which was outscored 51-24 in the second half after trailing, 45-32, at the intermission.
The Tar Heels closed to 47-40 early in the second half but Blake scored seven points in a 13-2 spurt that turned the contest into a rout.
"They make you pay for your mistakes," Doherty said. "If you make a mistake, they make you pay. They shot 65 percent in the first half and I do believe we did a good job in our man-to-man defense."
Maryland shot 58 percent from the field (40-of-69), its second-best effort of the season. The Terrapins shot 59 percent against Hampton (42-of-71).
Drew Nicholas contributed 17 points for the Terrapins, while freshman John Gilchrist added 13 and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Freshman Rashad McCants was North Carolina's only other double-figure scorer with 11 points. Classmate Raymond Felton struggled as he was hounded by Blake into 3-of-10 shooting for eight points.
The Tar Heels shot just 32 percent (21-of-64), including 7-of-31 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 20 times.