RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- John Gilchrist and Maryland set up an interesting regular-season finale with an unlikely victory.
Gilchrist scored 21 points as the Terrapins blew a 17-point lead before pulling out a 70-69 Atlantic Coast Conference triumph over 19th-ranked North Carolina State.
Maryland (15-11, 6-9 ACC) won for just the second time in six games to bolster hopes of an NCAA Tournament at-large berth. The Terrapins head home Sunday to host Virginia, which also has a 6-9 conference mark, meaning an NCAA bid could be on the line.
"The sense of urgency was there," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "The pressure was on the players. I thought they really came through well."
A sizzling first half saw the Terrapins take their largest lead, 40-23, on freshman Mike Jones' 3-pointer with 3:40 left. North Carolina State (18-8, 10-5), which played without injured shooting guard Scooter Sherrill, never quit and came back behind Julius Hodge to take the lead in the second half.
Benched because he was late to a team function, Gilchrist came off the bench and turned in some clutch play down the stretch. He scored six straight points to snap a 62-62 tie and give Maryland the lead for good.
The Wolfpack had several chances to tie or go ahead in the final minute, facing a 68-66 deficit. Levi Watkins missed a baseline jumper and Marcus Melvin's long 3-pointer misfired with 18 seconds to go.
After the Terrapins' Jamar Smith split a pair at the line, Melvin's 3-pointer was off with five seconds remaining. Smith made a free throw to render Hodge's 3-pointer at the buzzer meaningless.
"Losing is never easy," Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said. "Everybody has a great deal invested. You put your heart and soul into this endeavor."
The Wolfpack's loss clinched another ACC regular-season crown for Duke.
Smith, who was averaging just 9.7 points in ACC play, provided a huge boost with 16 points and eight rebounds. He helped the Terrapins overcome 32 percent (9-of-28) shooting in the second half.
"I was really proud of our guys tonight because State is really a good team," Williams said. "Obviously, without Sherrill, that hurt them tonight."
NC State, which dropped its second straight at home after a 14-0 start, got back-to-back 3-pointers from Ilian Evtimov for a 52-50 lead with 14:41 remaining. That brought the sellout crowd at the RBC Center to its feet as the young Terrapins seemed ready to fold.
But they didn't, thanks to six points by Nik Caner-Medley around a basket by Hodge for a 56-54 lead. Maryland held N.C. State without a basket for a nine-minute stretch late in the game and Gilchrist took advantage with his run.
Hodge scored 27 points and Melvin added 22 in his final home game. But the loss of Sherrill, who averages 10.5 points, proved too much to overcome.
"When we're coming out, we're coming out a little flat," Melvin said. "We're not coming out with the energy we had before."