ACC live blog: UNC knocks out Maryland, 79-76 - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

ACC live blog: UNC knocks out Maryland, 79-76

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -

WNCN is live-blogging the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. Here's the UNC-Maryland game.

5:49 p.m.: North Carolina wins, 79-76, over Maryland after Logan Aronhalt misses a long three-pointer - maybe 25 feet - with about six seconds left.

Tenacious effort by Maryland and guard Dez Wells, who is from Raleigh. But it was telling that both teams that had to play on Thursday - N.C. State and Maryland - lost on Saturday. Playing three days in a row is tough, even for college athletes.

Carolina had balanced scoring in what turned out to be an intense game. Reggie Bullock (15), Dexter Strickland (15), James Michael McAdoo (13) and P.J. Hairston (13) all had double figures.

Marcus Paige had eight points but only two assists and piled up four points.

Paige, though, was tremendous in the stretch. He hit a key jumper when Carolina was wobbling to give the Tar Heels a 73-70 lead.

And then he had a gorgeous drive to the basket and tossed in a shot with his left hand that was a beautiful basketball move. That put UNC ahead 77-72 with only 36 seconds to play.

5:47 p.m., it's close: UNC leads 79-76, but Maryland has the ball and just called time with 10.9 seconds to play.

Does UNC foul? Or let Maryland shoot?

5:36, Terps in it: Carolina has been on the brink of knocking out Maryland for much of this game, but could never quite put Maryland away. Now, the Terps are in it for good, with UNC ahead 71-68 with 3:23 to play. Two Carolina turnovers helped.

Strickland (15 points) and Bullock (15) have led UNC, but the Heels have four fouls on both Marcus Paige and James Michael McAdoo. 

Maryland is now just one, 71-70, after the TV timeout, but Paige just hit a tough jumper and it's 73-70.

5:26 p.m., intense game now: Mark Turgeon is pushing his Maryland team hard, and the Terps have responded. James Michael McAdoo is on the Carolina bench with four fouls, and both fan bases are into it as the teams are racing up and down the floor.

Carolina leads 68-60 and P.J. Hairston just missed an open three-pointer. Nick Faust responded with a three-pointer for Maryland, his fifth, and the Terps have slashed it to 68-63.

As soon as I wrote that, though, Reggie Bullock hit a clutch three-pointer for Carolina. He's had a terrific game - getting key shots for UNC when the Tar Heels appeared in trouble.

So now it's 71-64 with only 5:38 left.

5:02 p.m., Heels pour it on: Carolina is not giving Maryland a chance to get going so far. Dexter Strickland is playing really well, on offense and defense, and the Tar Heels have a 50-40 lead at the 14-minute mark. 

Hairston has played well throughout and started for UNC. Hairston just jacked up a three,  and got fouled for three free throws.

By the way, Dick Vitale just heaped praise on ACC official Karl Hess, who is calling this game. Hess is the one who ejected Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta in Raleigh last year. Lots of different opinions on how good an official Hess really is.

4:25 p.m., UNC looks quick: North Carolina looks quick and fast on defense in this game and it's smaller lineup has been effective against Maryland so far.

Duke struggled Friday night to guard Dez Wells in particular, but Wells has only four points so far. Maryland is shooting only 8 of 25 from the field against an aggressive Tar Heel defense.

Meanwhile, Carolina is getting good looks, and P.J. Hairston (nine points), Dexter Strickland (seven) and Reggie Bullock (seven) are knocking them down.

Two trends we've seen so far in this tournament:

* Few close games: Florida State beat Clemson 73-69 Thursday, but that's really been the only close game. Other than that, the only victory by less than double digits was Maryland's 83-74 victory over Duke Friday.

* Senior impact: UNC senior Dexter Strickland is yet another senior having a good tournament. There's something about knowing your career is almost over that adds energy to the legs.

Strickland has 11 points at halftime against Maryland and three assists as well. His play is a big reason Carolina is up 37-32.

The Tar Heels seemed to dominate the first half, and could have been ahead even more. Maryland has made only 10 of 29 shots and is fortunate to be behind just five at halftime.

4:15 p.m., UNC ahead: North Carolina is still ahead 24-18, but the Terps are starting to get back in this one.  

Maryland just isn't the same team it was against Duke so far. The Terps' Dez Wells went berserk against Duke, but the energetic wing is 0-for-2 so far against Carolina. Wells played at Raleigh's Word of God high school.

P.J. Hairston has hit 2 of 3 shots so far for six points and doesn't appear too bothered by that left-hand injury.

3:56 p.m., Maryland hopes for NCAA: North Carolina is off to a quick start and has three three-pointers, and P.J. Hairston is playing well. This could be a big game for Maryland's NCAA hopes - ESPN's analyst has the Terps on the outs when the selections are announced Sunday.

Hairston just launched a long three-pointer and hit it. The Tar Heels are up 13-9 early.  

Maryland just called time with Carolina up 15-9 early.

3:50 p.m., Hairston in: P.J. Hairston is in the lineup for North Carolina, and hit his first shot despite having a hand that is heavily bandaged.

Carolina is off to a strong start and, unlike Triangle brethren N.C. State, is bringing a lot of energy to this game. The Tar Heels lead 8-4 early as Reggie Bullock (5) and Hairston (3) have contributed the scoring.

 

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