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NCAA Basketball ACC BasketballMaryland TerrapinsNorth Carolina Tar Heels

North Carolina Tar Heels Lean On Veteran Leadership To Reach The ACC Championship

Bob Donnan-USA Today Sports

Today, the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Maryland Terrapins faced each other for the third time this season. North Carolina  won the game, 79-76. This victory completed a three-game sweep of Maryland this season. North Carolina was led by Reggie Bullock, who had 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Other key contributors included Dexter Strickland (15 points and four assists), P.J. Hairston (13 points and four rebounds) and James Michael McAdoo (13 points and eight rebounds). Maryland’s top players in today’s game were Alex Len (20 points and seven rebounds), Nick Faust (17 points, three rebounds and three assists) and Dez Wells (15 points, nine rebounds and four assists).

North Carolina led for the majority of the game. Maryland trailed at halftime, 37-32. Maryland outscored North Carolina 44 to 42 in the second half. After trimming a 14-point lead to two points, Maryland was not able to stop North Carolina in the closing minutes of the game. UNC’s freshman point guard, Marcus Paige, hit two difficult shots within the final three minutes to help seal the victory for his team. North Carolina has an 8-2 record since Hairston became a part of the starting lineup. In addition, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, has played mostly veteran players for the past 10 games. The only freshman who gets a great deal of playing time is Paige.

The statistics between each team were very close. North Carolina ranks second in assists in the NCAA, while Maryland ranks third in rebounds in the nation. Despite each team’s strengths, Maryland controlled the boards and had more assists than North Carolina. North Carolina won the game due to their defense and making two more field goals than Maryland. North Carolina had a few more steals than Maryland (six to four) and managed to have three blocked shots whereas Maryland had no blocks the entire game.

North Carolina will face the Miami (FL) Hurricanes in the ACC Championship tomorrow afternoon. Maryland must await their fate, in regards to earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament. If Miami wins the ACC Championship game, then they will secure a No. 1 seed. If North Carolina wins tomorrow, then they will possibly earn a No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the East or the South bracket.