Terps Scramble to Beat Wolfpack: Big Maryland Lead Vanishes at Finish

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RALEIGH, N.C. - No one said that playing in the ACC is easy.

Maryland held off a furious N.C. State rally and defended against a wild scramble under the State basket as time expired and held on for an 86-84 victory at Reynolds Coliseum.

After Maryland (14-9, 6-6 ACC) had led by as many as 20 points with less than nine minutes left, N.C. State (14-12, 3-10) had a chance to win with 12.8 seconds left. Coming out of a timeout, the Wolfpack got a two-on-one break with Al Pinkins and Todd Fuller against Maryland's Rodney Elliott. But Elliott took a charge from Pinkins, and Booth hit one of two free throws before the wild scramble as the clock expired. Fuller missed a tap that would have tied the game for State.

"Coach tried to change the defense from a halfcourt defense to fullcourt and I saw Pinkins coming toward me and I kept saying `C'mon keep coming', and I knew I was going to take the charge," Elliott said.

"What happened is that we got very passive," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We took the pressure off and got less aggressive in our halfcourt defense."

The N.C. State home crowd harped on the Terps playing their final game without senior point guard Duane Simpkins. Maryland played in front of homemade signs that read "Even Simpkins Pays Nothing," "No Parking" and "Hey Duane, Can We Borrow Some $?"

Pinkins brought N.C. State to within 85-82 with an inside basket. After a Maryland turnover, State's Jeremy Hyatt hit two free throws, making it 85-84 with 53.4 seconds left. Those free throws marked the end of a tremendous 28-9 run that brought State back into the game.

Maryland had jumped out to as much as a 20-point second-half lead in which they could do little wrong. The Terps started the second half with a 21-10 run and took a 64-46 lead at the 12:55 mark. After forward Exree Hipp hit a particularly tough fall-away jumper on the baseline, one fan in the second row turned to another and said, "If they're going to hit shots like that . …