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The Daily Tar Heel

M. Basketball: Sharp shooting gives Heels edge over Terps

Wayne Ellington scalded the Maryland defense with 12-for-15 shooting. The junior finished with 34 points" just two short of his career high.

North Carolina scored on fast breaks.

They scored ugly and pretty after made and missed baskets on layups lots of dunks and a seemingly endless amount of 3-pointers.

In a game that took offensive efficiency to a whole new level" the Tar Heels stepped on the throttle from the opening tip and played enough defense to comfortably rout Maryland for a 108-91 win Tuesday at the Smith Center. The Tar Heels continue to peak as they head into next week's showdown against archrival Duke.

""It was a heck of a show. I've said a lot of times this year I think we can really shoot the ball. We shot the dickens out of it tonight" coach Roy Williams said. I don't like giving up 91 points to say the least … and yet it's an ACC win" and you oughta be dadgum happy about that. That's the bottom line.""

Thanks to early outside shooting and some points off turnovers" the Tar Heels built up a double-digit lead only 6:34 into the game.

The margin eventually ballooned to 21 points thanks to a long-range missile attack from Wayne Ellington Danny Green and Ty Lawson.

The three went for a combined 11-for-14 from behind the arc in the first half" and Ellington shot 7-for-8 from the field while scoring 21 points before the intermission. He finished with a season-high 34 points.

""To their credit" they made them — but they had a lot of open looks" said Maryland coach Gary Williams, who highlighted Ellington as perhaps the most improved player on UNC's roster.

 It's a combination usually of us not covering and them making the shots.""

The outside shooting also gave Tyler Hansbrough room to work down low" and the senior forward slammed home several dunks. After taking an intentional foul in the first-half he used a classic bull-rush to get to the basket for a layup.

He would finish with 24 in the game which took him from 5th to 2nd place in career ACC scoring. Hansbrough also set the UNC record for double-figure games (119) and the ACC record for 20-point games (71).

Although UNC allowed Maryland to climb back a bit it entered the locker room with a 60-44 advantage thanks to double-figure scoring from four of its five starters.

The second half was nothing less than an extended offensive clinic by the Tar Heels. Building on his early production" Ellington hit three more 3-pointers (seven for the game) and even showed tenacity down low in collecting seven offensive rebounds (nine total).

""As soon as I saw a couple go in" I feel like all of them are going in" Ellington said.

UNC seemingly scored at will, and by the time Mike Copeland deposited a layup and Hansbrough hit a 3-pointer to give UNC a 94-71 lead with 7:23 left, the Terrapins had to feel as though it just wasn't their night.

North Carolina ended the game shooting 16-for-25 from downtown – the Tar Heels made 11 in the first 20 minutes, which tied a school-record for 3's in a half.

The only gripe with the Tar Heels was a sometimes porous defense — allowing the Terps to shoot 48 percent and garner 91 points — and Williams was visibly upset after one easy fast-break alley-oop in the first half.

It shouldn't be that hard. If you're focused and you're into the game mentally" you should be able to play both ends of the floor Green said. So tonight we did a great job offensively but at the defensive floor" we didn't really do as well as we wanted to.""

But with UNC scoring at a rate of nearly three points a minute"" it took only a competent level of defense to turn Tuesday into a slaughter.

""You know we're pretty gifted" Williams said. And when you shoot the ball in the hole when we share the basketball" it is hard to stop.""

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