Packs Falls at Maryland, 87-80

NC State allowed another second half lead to slip away on the road, as Maryland's hot-shooting powered it past the Wolfpack 87-80 on Sunday night at the Comcast Center.

Once again, NC State battled to take a second-half lead on the road in the ACC. But for the third in its five road losses, the Wolfpack's lead wouldn't last until the final whistle.

Maryland surged ahead in the final minutes and the Pack wasn't able to muster a counter punch, falling 87-80 at the Comcast Center in College Park. The Pack, coming off back-to-back wins in conference play, led for the first seven minutes of the second half and were tied with the Terrapins at 71 with just over five minutes left.

But the offense shut down for the Pack for a four-minute stretch, going scoreless from the 6:29 mark until the 2:02 mark – at which point Maryland had built up an eight-point advantage. The Pack would be unable to overcome that offensive lull, as the Terrapins hit 23-of-25 free throws in the game to prevent any comeback attempt.

The Terrapins shot an impressive 58 percent for the game and attempted just one three-pointer as it was able to get into the paint and get good looks in its mid-range game. The Pack shot 49 percent from the floor and was 7-for-17 from behind the 3-point line but hit just 11-of-16 free throws in the loss.

Three Pack players scored in double figures on Sunday night, led by Tracy Smith's 19 points. CJ Leslie added 18 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort while Scott Wood scored 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting behind the arc. Lorenzo Brown added eight points and dished out eight assists.

Maryland's Jordan Williams started the game a perfect 8-of-8 from the field for the Terrapins, who took advantage of a porous interior defense to jump out to an early lead. The Terps shot a robust 59 percent from the floor in the half and didn't even attempt a 3-pointer, while the Pack shot 50 percent and was 5-of-11 from behind the arc.

But turnovers proved to be the Terrapins undoing in the first half, as the Pack stormed back with a 14-0 run late in the half fueled by four straight Maryland turnovers. Wood hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Pack its first lead of the night and the Pack would hold onto a 40-38 advantage heading into the halftime locker room.

Neither team could get any stops coming out to start the second half, as the teams traded easy buckets with neither team able to play enough defense to create a run. Leslie and Wood led the way for the Pack during the stretch, as Leslie scored on a pair of alley-oops and Wood continued raining down 3-pointers to keep the Pack ahead.

But the Terrapins came roaring back on the shoulders of Williams, who continued to dominate inside despite finally missing a shot when Leslie came in to block an attempt. The offense, which had been so effective for most of the half, went into a four-minute lull that allowed the Terrapins to go on an 8-0 run. By the time the Pack snapped out of its offensive funk, there were just two minutes remaining in the game.

The Terps sealed the victory by hitting its free throws down the stretch to hand the Pack its sixth conference road loss of the year. NC State will try to rebound at home in the RBC Center on Wednesday when it takes on arch rival North Carolina.

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