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Updated: Sunday, February 27, 2005 9:52 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(2) North Carolina 85, Maryland 83

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland (Ticker) -- Raymond Felton was in the same situation a few weeks ago against Duke. This time he didn't hesitate.

Felton made the game-winning shot and Sean May had 21 points, 11 rebounds and a key block as second-ranked North Carolina snapped a six-game losing streak at the Comcast Center with a thrilling Atlantic Coast Conference victory over Maryland.

"Raymond took a lot of grief after the Duke game about not trying to make a play when he had an opening in front of him," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I told him at that time it wasn't his fault. ... I'm very happy for him that he was able to take the ball and finish it, and then Sean had a big block at the end to save the lead."

Trailing at Duke, 71-70, on February 9, Felton dribbled away the Tar Heels' last possession, didn't penetrate when the opportunity presented itself and then passed to David Noel on the right sideline with seconds remaining. Noel lost the ball out of bounds as time expired.

In this one, with the game tied at 83-83, North Carolina ran the clock down and got it to Felton with just over 20 seconds to play. Felton didn't delay, drove from the top of the arc to his left for a layup with 19 seconds left.

"It was a big shot," said Felton of his game-winner. "I did it on the fly. Coming off a ball screen, it was open. I had a clean lane to the basket. Sean did a good job at clearing his man out so he couldn't get to me."

After a timeout, a drive by Maryland's Mike Jones was blocked by May as time expired and the raucous crowd at the Comcast Center fell silent.

"Mike Jones got a clean look and I knew he didn't have enough time to pass it and I was able to come from the weak side and get a big block," May said. "This is a tough place to play. I think they got us here six times in a row so we knew it was a big opportunity for us. We want to start getting ready for March."

May recorded his sixth straight double-double and added three blocks. The junior center is averaging 17 points and 14 rebounds during his streak.

"Sean is unbelievable," Felton said. "He played extremely hard on both ends. He does great things at the right time throughout the game. Everybody always thinks about his offense, but in my opinion, his defense won the game."

The win kept the Tar Heels (24-3, 12-2 ACC) one game ahead of Wake Forest atop the ACC standings and improved their league road record to 6-2. The Demon Deacons beat Virginia earlier Sunday.

"That's exactly opposite (of) what we were last year, so we're .500 the way I look at it," Roy Williams said. "I've always enjoyed trying to beat people on the road. Poise and toughness can get you through on the road. When other teams are going crazy and the crowd is going crazy, you have to have enough poise to do what you practice everyday."

The Tar Heels, playing their second straight game without an ill Rashad McCants, led throughout but a spirited Terrapins (16-10, 7-8) comeback fueled by four 3-pointers from Jones, gave Maryland an 81-80 lead with 1:28 to play. Consecutive shots from the arc by Chris McCray and Jones capped the 28-17 run.

"Chris and Mike Jones made some big-time plays," Roy Williams said. "McCray played a fantastic basketball game, and Jones came in and made those threes."

But North Carolina's Jawad Williams hit a 3-pointer before Ekene Ibekwe converted a follow shot for Maryland to set up Felton's heroics.

"They're the No. 2 team in the country and I want our guys to believe they can play with that," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "But it takes a lot of work. If we play with the intensity we had in the second half I'm sure we can play with any team in the country."

McCray scored 15 of his career-high 25 points in the first 20 minutes to keep the Terrapins within 10 at 47-37. McCray, who is averaging 18.7 points over his last seven games, knocked down a career-high 5-of-6 from the arc and added six rebounds and five assists.

"Maybe it should have been six (3-pointers) and we would have won the game," McCray said. "That's a personal accomplishment and it's the farthest thing from my mind. I'll be happy if we win the game, even if it means only scoring two points."

The Terrapins shot just 42 percent (30-of-71) but converted 11-of-17 from the arc.

Williams finished with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting and Felton scored 10 and handed out 10 assists for the Tar Heels, who shot 50 percent (31-of-62). Noel chipped in a season-high 12 points and Jackie Manuel contributed nine points, 10 rebounds and three steals.

Nik Caner-Medley scored 16 points and John Gilchrist added 14 for Maryland, which needed this win for its NCAA Tournament profile.

Both Caner-Medley and Gilchrist went over 1,000 points in their careers.


© 2005 STATS, Inc
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