Thursday, February 15, 2007

N.C. State-Maryland notebook: Missed gimmes haunt Pack

RALEIGH – It was difficult to tell Wednesday night where N.C. State’s problems on offense ended and its defensive failures began during an 85-70 loss to Maryland at the RBC Center.
N.C. State center Ben McCauley said missed layups allowed the Terrapins to get their fast break started for easy baskets before the defense could even get set.
“We should have converted on the offensive end,” coach Sidney Lowe said. “Our guys missed layups and free throws that really cost us. Our defensive end was worse, though.”
Maryland blocked seven shots in the second half, and N.C. State shot just 61.5 percent from the foul line after halftime.
STRAWBERRY BOUNCES BACK: Maryland senior D.J. Strawberry recovered to score a team-high 18 points after he was called for a technical foul in the first half for jawing at N.C. State guard Courtney Fells.
Strawberry apologized afterward, and Maryland coach Gary Williams said he wasn’t the only one talking a lot. Fells was jawing right back at Strawberry when the technical was called, and N.C. State’s Gavin Grant had to keep Fells from continuing the discussion.
“That happened a lot tonight, both sides,” Williams said.
TERPS TOURNEY BOUND? If the season were to end today, you might have to pencil in Maryland in your NCAA tournament bracket.
Clemson, which lost Wednesday at Wake Forest, and Florida State are falling out of NCAA contention. Maryland and Georgia Tech might be playing their way in.
The Terrapins (19-7, 5-6 ACC) followed up an emotional win against Duke on Sunday with an important road victory.
“This was a big win for us,” Williams said. “We’d had some big wins earlier in the year and not come back and played well the next game.”
SYMPATHY FOR THE PACK: Williams had a long, friendly conversation with N.C. State point guard Engin Atsur after the game and complimented first-year coach Lowe.
“State has a lot of pride,” Williams said. “They play hard, and their coaches have done a great job. It’s tough coming in late like they did and having a thin team, and their coaches have prepared them well.”