for this game

Maryland stuns top-ranked North Carolina

Jan 20, 2008 - 12:42 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- After bad early-season losses to Virginia Commonwealth, Ohio and American, Maryland lived up to its reputation as giant killers.

Bambale Osby converted a layup with 21 seconds remaining as the Terrapins stunned top-ranked North Carolina, 82-80, in an Atlantic Coast Conference thriller on Saturday.

It marked the sixth time the Gary Williams-coached Terrapins have defeated a top-ranked team.

"We were mostly off," Williams said of Maryland's early struggles. "There wasn't a whole lot of 'on' to start the season. Work we did was to try to get better. I think we have become a better team the last couple weeks."

North Carolina again played with fire, and this time the Tar Heels got burned. The loss left Memphis and Kansas as the nation's only unbeaten teams.

"I haven't done a very good job with this basketball team the couple of weeks," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "We've been living on the edge, and it caught up with us today."

Twice this season, North Carolina (18-1, 3-1 ACC) has held on for last-second wins against heavy underdogs, including an 83-82 victory at Georgia Tech in its last outing.

The Tar Heels appeared ready to pull out another dramatic victory Saturday, rallying from a 10-point deficit - it largest of the season - to take a 78-74 lead on Danny Green's layup with 2:29 remaining.

But the Terrapins (12-7, 2-2) refused to fold, reeling off six straight points to take an 80-78 edge on James Gist's two foul shots with 1:06 remaining.

After the Tar Heels tied it on Tyler Hansbrough's power move in the lane with 51 seconds left, the Terrapins ran their half-court offense to perfection.

They got the ball inside to Osby, who drove the baseline to put Maryland ahead, 82-80.

"We did play well against Wake (a 71-64 win in their last game), but we scrapped pretty well," Gary Williams said. "So, I think our players really believed that if we could execute good on offense, we had a chance to win the game."

North Carolina had numerous chances on its final possession but missed four shots, including a 3-pointer by Hansbrough at the buzzer.

"I always think my shots are going in, but it just didn't go that way," Hansbrough said.

Gist scored 22 points and Landon Milbourne added 14 for the Terrapins, who opened a 41-35 lead at halftime before stretching their advantage to 51-41 early in the second half.

"They did a pretty good job of scoring against second shots," Roy Williams said. "In fact, they probably out-ran us. During a couple possessions in the second half, I was really mad because I didn't think we sprinted back (on defense)."

North Carolina guard Marcus Ginyard agreed with his coach's assessment about living on the edge.

"We were just hoping things would go our way, hoping that we get the lucky bounce, hoping that we knock down the shot at the last second," Ginyard said. "But the game shouldn't have to come down to that. We should make things go our way a lot earlier than the last couple seconds."

Hansbrough recorded 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Tar Heels, coming on in the second half after being held to four points in the opening 20 minutes.

"He is so tough and if he starts making those jump shots, it is really going to be a problem," Gary Williams said.

In the first half, however, Maryland held North Carolina's trio of Hansbrough, Green and Deon Thompson to a combined 3-of-17 from the field.

The Terrapins stretched their lead to 51-41 on Cliff Tucker's jumper with 16:03 remaining. The Tar Heels roared back, tying the contest at 59-59 on Hansbrough's dunk with 10:59 to go.

But Maryland did not allow North Carolina to take control as the contest remained close until the final possession. Neither team led by more than four in the final 10 minutes.