The Maryland Terrapins desperately needed a win on Wednesday, for their identity, for their fans, and to prove to the ACC that they weren’t a fluke. With one second remaining, Maryland’s Alex Len snagged Pe’ Shon Howard’s missed shot and tapped it in, giving the Terrapins a 51-50 victory over 14th-ranked North Carolina State.
This was a monumental win for Maryland, who after a 13-game win streak, started 0-2 in the conference. Most of their victories haven’t earned them bragging rights, but this one wasn’t a cakewalk by any means.
The Wolfpack were coming off of a nationally televised beating of the Duke Blue Devils, who were ranked the best in the nation heading into the match-up. There were many analysts and writers (including myself) who thought that N.C. State would ride the momentum of that game and handle the Terrapins with ease.
Maryland proved us wrong, and showed that they can hang with the best.
Though it wasn’t pretty, Mark Turgeon’s squad found a way to close out the game. Len only scored 10 points on the night, but six of those came in the final two minutes, including the basket that mattered the most.
This win won’t suddenly launch Maryland to the top of the polls or even the ACC, but it was an important victory for Turgeon’s team. Their roster is young, and they have struggled to find an identity for the entirety of the season. This may just be the spark that gives them confidence, and we could see Maryland begin to mature before our very eyes.
For N.C. State this is nothing more than a close, road loss against a conference opponent. I expect the Wolfpack to bounce back strong, and the ACC to remain neck and neck until the end of the regular season.
Make sure to follow this writer on twitter @SeanLabar