- The Washington Times - Monday, December 31, 2001

RALEIGH, N.C. The eighth-ranked Maryland Terrapins painted the eastern-most section of Tobacco Road red, white, black and gold to commemorate coach Gary Williams' 100th ACC win.
But it didn't come easy for the Terps.
Maryland shot a perfect 14 of 14 from the free throw line in the final 5:37 to hold off a determined N.C. State squad 72-65 in a hard-fought ACC opener for both schools before 18,163 at the Entertainment & Sports Arena.
Coming into the game, the Terps had shot 64 percent from the free throw line. Juan Dixon, Maryland's All-American guard candidate, went 10-for-10 from the line in the final 4:41 and scored 10 of his game-high 21 points in the final 4:41 on free throws.
Steve Blake, Maryland's junior point guard, went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the game, including four of four in the final five minutes. With 9:12 left, the Terps (10-2, 1-0 ACC) were just seven of 14 from the foul line and trailing 44-43.
"There were different guys at the line until the end of the game," said Blake, who finished with 11 points and five assists. "We can shoot free throws as a team. We weren't knocking them down early, but towards the end we stayed focused and knocked them down."
A game that started as a gut-check defensive battle, turned into a foul-shooting contest in the second half and into a 21/2 hour marathon. The teams combined to shoot 81 free throws. For the game, the Terps made 35 of 49, with Dixon going 12 of 14. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack (10-3, 0-1) made 22 of 32 free throws.
What is truly amazing about the game and all the fouls was that only Maryland center Lonny Baxter fouled out. The burly Baxter finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
"I thought every guy on their bench had four [fouls] though," said Williams, who is 100-89 in the ACC and became the 10th coach to win 100 conference games. "We were trying to platoon as much as possible with Lonny and Juan and we were able to get away with it until Lonny got his fifth, and it was pretty late when he finally got his fifth."
Down the stretch, the Terps showed their veteran savvy with Blake and Dixon.
Maryland led throughout the first half and had to battle and scrape for everything they got. The Terps managed a 27-17 lead on two free throws from forward Byron Mouton with 4:34 left in the first half. However, the lead dwindled to 32-28 by the break.
The young, aggressive Wolfpack never allowed the Terps to pull away. The Wolfpack's fullcourt pressure gave Maryland fits, especially on inbound plays. The Wolfpack took their first lead of the game on a 3-pointer from the right wing by 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Marcus Melvin with 9:12 left.
The Terps held a 53-51 lead with 5:37 remaining and scored only seven of their final 19 points from the floor. The rest came from the free throw line. Blake hit two big jumpers late. With the Terps leading 55-52, Blake made a 10-foot baseline jumper with 2:40 left that gave Maryland a little breathing room at 57-52.
Less than a minute later, the Wolfpack's scrambling defense left Blake alone in the left corner and the 6-3 guard buried a 3-pointer that gave Maryland a 60-54 lead with 1:44 left.
Dixon made a remarkable 15-foot fadeaway jumper from the left baseline that gave Maryland a 62-56 lead with 55 seconds left.
"We just stayed tough," Dixon said. "This was a tough game for us and we knew if we stayed in it, held our composure and played good defense, that we could come away with this victory. We're a veteran team and we know what it takes to win."
The game was a defensive battle from the beginning. Maryland's 32-28 halftime lead was indicative of how tight each possession was contested. The Terps tried to attack N.C. State's interior, but the Wolfpack's quickness and athleticism inside forced the Terps to work extra hard.
Maryland super sophomore Chris Wilcox finished with 12 rebounds, nine points and two blocks. Mouton had 10 points. The victory was Maryland's 20th win against the Wolfpack in 23 games.
"I couldn't be more pleased with the effort," N.C. State coach Herb Sendek said. "Our guys poured their hearts out. They played really tough. I hope [the game] gives our guys additional evidence that we're capable of being a good team."

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