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Strong first half lifts Maryland past NC Central

Dec 11, 2014 - 3:54 AM College Park, MD ( - Rashaud Pack scored 17 points to lead No. 19 Maryland in a 67-56 victory over NC Central at the Xfinity Center.

Jake Layman added 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in a game the Terrapins hit on 63.6 percent of their first-half field goal attempts to build a 39-18 lead at the break. Melo Trimble finished with 12 points for Maryland (8-1).

NC Central (6-4), the defending MEAC champions, had a five-game win streak halted despite Jordan Parks' 18 points and 10 rebounds and a 14-point effort from Nimrod Hilliard.

The Eagles were able to hang around early due to sloppy play from the Terps, who turned the ball over six times in the first 5 1/2 minutes and were clinging to a 14-12 lead just past the midway mark of the second half.

Maryland then got white-hot from the perimeter, burying 3-pointers on five consecutive possessions as part a 21-2 run that completely broke the contest open. The Terps went 8-of-9 overall from the field during the tear, which concluded on a Pack layup that staked Maryland to a 35-14 advantage with 3:25 remaining in the opening period.

"We got our defense going, started making shots and we were just really good," Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon stated. "To be up 21 on this team at the half was an amazing feat."

NC Central somewhat cut into its sizeable halftime deficit after the intermission, pulling within 54-39 on a Parks dunk and Hilliard's 3-point play with 8:55 left. Layman knocked down a trey on Maryland's ensuing trip down the court, however, and two Trimble free throws that followed Hilliard's turnover had the Terps back up by 20.

With Maryland failing to make a basket after Jon Graham's layup with 7:13 to play, the Eagles were able to close the gap in the final minutes. Karamo Jawara's layup with six seconds left accounted for the final 11-point differential.

Maryland shot just 33 percent in the second half.

"We didn't guard people the way we're supposed to (in the first half)," said Eagles head coach LeVelle Morton. "In the second half they shot 33 percent and we got up and guarded people. I'm proud of the second half, but we don't do moral victories around here."

Game Notes

The Terps went 18-of-27 from the free throw line, while NC Central attempted just six foul shots (5-of-6) ... The schools met for the first time last December in College Park, a 70-56 Maryland win ... The Terps close out a six-game homestand Saturday against USC Upstate.