Reaction: Maryland 75 N.C. State 67

Fast start propels Terrapins to a first-round win in ACC Tournament

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What it means The Gary Williams "quest to win four" continues for another day in Greensboro, N.C. as he becomes one step closer to accomplishing to becoming the first team ever to win four straight games en route to being crowned ACC champions.

After guard Pe'Shon Howard guaranteed a different team would come out to play following the demeaning loss at home on Senior Day, the Terrapins came out of the tunnel more motivated than they had in weeks. A 12-2 run, marked by a perfect 5-5 from the floor start helped give the team the one and only lead they needed to hold on 75-67.

Hawk out of the cage With the starting five in turmoil over the past few games due to inconsistent guard play, Williams opted for Haukur Palsson to get the nod over Cliff Tucker and Sean Mosley at the three-guard. In Palsson's second career start, he nailed his first two buckets, and in the process rejuvenated the lineup with a spark of much-needed energy.

Following the loss to Virginia, Williams said he would need to evaluate in starting lineup and would base the starters based on the practice sessions in Greensboro. All year long Williams has preached faster starts for his team; perhaps Palsson on the court right away is the answer.

Bringing out the ‘D' Perhaps the biggest difference in this team between its ability to knock down Florida State and then fall in consecutive weeks to mediocre foes in Miami and Virginia at home is their defense. Despite a seven-point win earlier this season against the Wolfpack, the Terrapins did not simply just outscore their opponent.

ACC All-Freshman Team forward C.J. Leslie dropped 18 points (7-13 FG) in February when the two teams team, a far comparison than his outing Thursday. This time Leslie was held to 5 points and just two buckets. Similarly, sharp-shooting Scott Wood, who Williams made a point of emphasis on their poor perimeter defense in their last meeting for allowing him to a 5-7 mark from long-range, was held to 0-6 from the 3-point line. The Terrapins had been allowing nearly 50 percent of 3-pointers in their last two contests before N.C. State managed just under 12 percent.

What's next Life in the ACC Tournament is what it is, meaning Maryland will retake the floor just under 22 hours from the conclusion of their first-round matchup. A date with Duke is set for Friday at 7 p.m., a third chance to try and knock off their rival this season in which they have failed to do so.


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