- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2002

It was a typical N.C. State-Maryland game with the usual result.
The third-ranked Terrapins shook off a sluggish start and finished with a flourish in their 89-73 dismissal of the Wolfpack. The foul-plagued game had little continuity and plenty of jawing. But the Terps earned their sixth straight victory over N.C. State and their 13th consecutive win in the series at Cole Field House. The last time the Wolfpack won in College Park was 1989.
"That's the way N.C. State plays," said Maryland's Juan Dixon, who had a game-high 27 points and matched a career-high with five 3-pointers. "Since I've been here, they play ugly and they make an ugly game out of it. If they need to try to intimidate opponents, then fine. But they are not going to intimidate us."
The Terps' fullcourt pressure defense picked them up from the early lull. Maryland (18-3, 8-1 ACC) has won five straight and 10 of 11 and moved back into a first-place tie with Duke. The Terps now have a week off and can match their best start in league play with a win Sunday at North Carolina. The only time Maryland had a 9-1 record in ACC play was in 1980 under coach Lefty Driesell.
The Terps closed the game on a 34-16 run to hand the Wolfpack (16-6, 5-4) their second straight loss. Maryland trailed 57-56 with 10:10 left before going on a 10-point spurt as part of a 16-2 run. N.C. State's offense became stagnant, and the Terps took advantage by continually beating the Wolfpack downcourt and exploiting their inside game for easy scores.
Maryland center Lonny Baxter had 16 points, and Ryan Randle provided a boost off the bench and allowed the Terps to take advantage of their bulk against N.C. State's freshman-oriented front line. Randle, a junior college transfer, had seven points and three rebounds in 13 minutes while filling in for Chris Wilcox, who was saddled with foul trouble.
"We just didn't have any emotion, but we gradually got it back," said Maryland coach Gary Williams, who has never lost to the Wolfpack in Cole. "We played very well in the last 12 minutes."
The Terps forced 21 turnovers and outrebounded the Wolfpack 34-23. Their decisive run began after a free throw by Cliff Crawford gave the visitors a 57-55 lead with 10:10 remaining. A free throw by Randle cut it to one before a Scooter Sherrill miss led to a breakaway. Drew Nicholas missed a layup, but Byron Mouton (13 points, six rebounds) was there for the putback.
Dixon then stole a pass on the perimeter, raced downcourt and missed a contested layup, but Randle was right there for the rebound and sank an easy layin to make it 60-57. Dixon, who also had five rebounds and four steals, nailed a 3-pointer to open the lead to six. A short fadeaway jumper by Mouton on the baseline made it a 10-point bulge.
Dixon soon had another 3-pointer from the left corner to make it 70-59 with 5:47 left. N.C. State was called for a shot-clock violation on its next possession, prompting Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek to erupt and draw a technical foul. The coach was restrained by assistant Larry Harris, who kept Sendek from charging after an official.
It was the first of several nasty incidents as the game wound down. Wolfpack freshman Julius Hodge was later called for a technical for elbowing Steve Blake in the head. At that point the Terps were up 85-73, and fans in the half-full arena were chanting "You will never win here." Dixon and Blake each made two free throws for the final margin.
"In the second half, you could tell we started pressing," said Mouton, who made six of 10 shots and had six rebounds and four assists. "We started rotating. We started rotation, and we started getting in the passing lanes."
Anthony Grundy led the Wolfpack with 19 points but was held to six after halftime. Maryland is now 11-0 at Cole this season and has won 13 straight on its homecourt.
The Terps led 41-38 after an unsightly first half that had 23 turnovers and nearly as many fouls (21) as field goals (25). The Terps recovered from a slow start because the Wolfpack appeared clueless once Maryland applied fullcourt pressure.
N.C. State committed 12 turnovers and 12 fouls. Maryland had nine giveaways, most early in the half.
The Wolfpack, who led by as many as eight, buckled after taking a 29-23 lead on a slashing layup by Grundy with 5:34 left in the half. The Terps answered with six straight. Dixon stared the run with two free throws after a steal. N.C. State turned it over when it failed to inbound the ball, and Nicholas made two free throws. Nicholas also tied the game from the line after he stole an awful inbounds pass from Ilian Evtimov, who immediately fouled Nicholas.
The Terps used a 10-3 run just before the break, keyed by Dixon, who had a 3-pointer and another 3-point play, to make it 41-33. Grundy scored the final points of the half on an 8-foot jumper off the glass.


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