No. 3 UNC demolishes No. 22 Maryland
Published: Sunday, January 9, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 9, 2005 at 1:31 a.m.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - For the previous six games, third-ranked North Carolina hammered the opposition expecting that the Atlantic Coast Conference season would be more demanding.
But on Saturday, the Tar Heels made a ranked league team look just as helpless as their other opponents.
Rashad McCants scored 19 points to lead seven players in double figures in the Tar Heels' 109-75 rout of No. 22 Maryland, a blowout that was the latest in a growing string of impressive victories.
The Tar Heels (13-1, 2-0) had their highest scoring output ever against the Terrapins (9-3, 1-1), and were two points from matching their biggest margin of victory in the series. It was also the most points Maryland had allowed in any game in the past 14 years.
''We wanted to send a statement out that we're a better basketball club than we were last year,'' said Sean May, who had 14 points. ''There were a lot of question marks about this team because we've had the talent for a few years and haven't really lived up to it. And we used every excuse in the book.
''Our statement was: This team's for real, we're going to get better every day in practice and treat every game as a chance to get better.''
Dee Brown made sure that didn't last long.
After not taking a single shot in the first half, Brown scored all 14 of his points in the second half to lead Illinois over Purdue.
''I told him to play like you're No. 1,'' Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. ''I said, 'Somebody has to step up and make plays.' Dee took it to heart.''
Gray made his first five 3-pointers and tied his career high of 31 points as the Demon Deacons (13-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their eighth in a row.
Gray's coach, Skip Prosser, often chides his star junior that he's never met a shot he didn't like. Gray agrees.
''Sometimes people say, 'Why are you shooting?' That's why,'' Gray said. ''I'm thinking I'm hot all the time.''
It was the ultimate sign of respect for Daniel Ewing and J.J. Redick, and one that was well-deserved.
The Duke duo combined for 46 points and nine 3-pointers, leading the Blue Devils over the Owls in a matchup of Hall of Fame coaches Mike Krzyzewski and John Chaney.
''Daniel really led us,'' Coach K said. ''He was 3-for-11 in the first half, and for him to have the courage to step forward like that, that's why he's our leader. He's been a heck of a player for us.''
Syracuse (15-1, 2-0 Big East) improved to 11-0 at home and 20-3 all-time against Seton Hall (8-5, 0-2) in the Carrier Dome.
Hakim Warrick had 14 points and nine rebounds and Craig Forth scored 10 points for the Orange, who held the Pirates to 35.8 percent shooting.
Kelly Whitney, the team's leading scorer at 14.1 points per game and usually a tough matchup for Syracuse - he scored 21 points in a victory over the Orange last year - played only 23 minutes and finished with 10 points and Donald Copeland had nine.
''But in the second half I was more patient and a lot of good things started happening for me,'' he said. ''It was just a matter of letting the game come to you.''
Graham had no turnovers in the second half and finished with 25 points - including all 10 of his free throw attempts - and 12 rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets (11-2, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) led by as many as 32 points and outscored the Cavaliers 48-31 in the final 20 minutes - a striking turnaround from the first half.
There were seven lead changes and five ties in the opening period, but Georgia Tech began to gain the upper hand in the waning minutes. The Yellow Jackets closed with a 14-6 spurt, going to the locker room with their biggest lead of the game to that point, 44-38.
That certainly was the case Saturday. The Huskies launched bricks all game, but 17 offensive rebounds made the difference in a victory over the Hoyas.
''We're so atypical of what we've been,'' Calhoun said. ''Generally speaking, when a lot of people think of Connecticut, they think of Ray Allen, they think of Caron Butler, they think of Ben Gordon, they think of the great perimeter players, and we're going - and it's been a tough transition - to an inside team, and really trying to borrow a little bit from John Sr.''
Dan Grunfeld scored six straight points during a decisive second-half run and finished with a career-high 29, and Stanford snapped Arizona's nine-game winning streak.
Chris Hernandez, the Cardinal's starting point guard, returned to the lineup after missing Thursday night's game against Arizona State with back spasms. He scored 23 in his team's best showing yet under first-year coach Trent Johnson.
The Hawkeyes came into Big Ten play this week with a nine-game winning streak, but are now 0-2 in the conference after a loss to Ohio State.
''We were really playing well and now we look like a different basketball team,'' coach Steve Alford said.
The New York City native scored a career-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers, in an overtime victory over Rutgers.
''Ronald was just big time,'' Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. ''He wasn't a freshman anymore, not making big plays like he did.''
Freshman Juan Palacios scored 23 points, and Francisco Garcia added 21 to help the Cardinals beat mistake-plagued TCU.
Palacios added seven rebounds, and Garcia had five assists for the Cardinals (12-3, 1-1 Conference USA), who scored 22 points off 23 TCU turnovers.
Ager scored 18 points and Paul Davis had 17 to lead Michigan State past the Wildcats for its seventh straight win.
The shooting guard, who scored a career-high 24 points against at Northwestern last year, has averaged 15.6 points against the Wildcats and has made 16 of 19 3-pointers against them. Overall, the junior averages 8.8 points and makes 39 percent of his 3-pointers.
Fischer had 18 points as West Virginia rebounded from its worst loss in six seasons with a victory over St. John's.
James White also had 13 points for the Bearcats (13-1, 2-0 Conference USA). Cincinnati has won its last two after suffering its only loss to No. 1 Illinois on New Year's Eve. The Bearcats have beaten 12 of their first 14 opponents by 10 points or more.
Mike Hall scored 19 points, Thompson added 17 and J.R. Pinnock returned from a one-game suspension for violating an unspecified team rule to score 15 points off the bench. Thompson scored all but three of his points in the first half and Pops Mensah-Bonsu had 13 for the Colonials (10-2, 2-0 Atlantic 10).
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