Coming into Maryland’s opening ACC Tournament game against NC State, most of the hype was surrounding two young stars – and that part was right. They just picked the wrong two young stars.
Yeah, Terrell Stoglin only scored nine points while Ryan Harrow scored 12 for the Wolfpack, but the matchup between the two freshman guards was one to watch as Maryland knocked out NC State, 75 to 67.
Jordan Williams had game highs in points (16) rebounds (13) and blocks (three), taking advantage of a late NC State decision to start Jordan Vandenberg and a Tracy Smith injury. Dino Gregory continued his solid play, scoring 11 points with nine rebounds, while Maryland got solid scoring production off the bench from Cliff Tucker (nine points with four rebounds), Sean Mosley (seven points), Pe’Shon Howard (seven), and James Padgett (six points and seven rebounds.
Haukur Palsson got the start at small forward for Maryland, and made a three early on. He played solid defense throughout the game, but only ended up with five points and three rebounds.
The Terps led by 17 with under 9 minutes left in the first half, but the Wolfpack were able to close it down to a nine point halftime deficit.
To be honest, this was more of NC State playing poorly than Maryland playing well. The Wolfpack had 22 more shots than the Terrapins, but made only one more. Sidney Lowe’s squad (if it’s even his squad for much longer) shot 33.8% from the floor, 11.8% from three and 61.1% from the free throw line.
Maryland kept the Wolfpack in it, turning the ball over 15 times, but NC State ultimately did not have the scoring power to turn out the win. Scott Wood, who was so good earlier in the year when these two teams played, missed all six of his threes tonight, and Harrow was the only starter to score in double digits (Smith and Javier Gonzalez did so off the bench).
I, for one, think this could turn into a semi-rivalry. Harrow and Stoglin were jawing back and forth throughout the game, and if Leslie and Williams stick around, you’ve got two teams with young stars who could contend for ACC titles soon after disappointing seasons this year. Scratch that, this is contingent on Debbie Yow waking up and firing Sidney Lowe, who just looks out of his element as a head coach.
The Terps now get to face Duke tomorrow night in the second round as they try to salvage their tournament hopes.