The top-10 showdown between Maryland and North Carolina went the way of the Tar Heels on Tuesday night, the No. 2 Terps unable to get past the No. 9 team in the country in an 89-81 loss in Chapel Hill.
In one of the most anticipated matchups of the non-conference season in college basketball, the Terps did their best to erase a double-digit deficit but only briefly got ahead of the Heels, unable to overtake their hosts for any significant length of time.
In the middle of the first half, a 13-5 Carolina run gave the Heels their biggest lead of the game at 13, but Maryland answered that with a 16-7 run to get the deficit to four with a minute left, trailing at halftime by six.
Rasheed Sulaimon's 3-pointer capped a 10-2 Maryland run early in the first half and tied the game at 53. Shortly thereafter, Melo Trimble's 3-pointer tied the game at 58 before his free throw gave the Terps a one-point lead with a little more than 13 and a half minutes to play. It was the first Terps lead of the night, though it would also be their only lead of the night. Carolina's Marcus Paige answered with a 3-pointer to put the Heels back on top by a deuce. A few minutes later, a Trimble 3 was followed by a Sulaimon three-point play to again tie the game, this time at 67 with nine and a half minutes to play, but after the game was tied at 69 with a little under nine minutes to go, the Terps didn't get any closer.
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A 14-5 Carolina run had the Heels out in front by nine with five minutes left, Joel Berry's 3-pointer to finish that stretch serving as the dagger in the hearts of the Terps' comeback hopes. That lead grew as big as 11 before finishing at eight.
Both teams shot terrifically on the night, Carolina at 53.2 percent and Maryland at 50.8 percent. The Terps hit 12 3-pointers, and the Heels made just 14 of their 25 free-throw attempts. But the difference in the game was turnovers, as Carolina scored 23 points off 22 Maryland turnovers, eight more than the 15 the Terps scored off 15 Heels turnovers, matching the game's margin.
Trimble had a double-double with 23 points and a career-high 12 assists, hitting four 3-pointers and coming away with a pair of steals. Carolina did a fine job keeping him away from the free-throw line, as he took just three foul shots. Sulaimon had 18 points, hitting five 3-pointers. Robert Carter had 11 points, blocking four shots and coming away with a pair of steals.
Maryland will surely drop from the No. 2 spot in the AP poll after the loss, even though it came against another top-10 team. The 6-1 Terps next host St. Francis on Friday.