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12/01 22:57 CST Paige's return lifts No. 9 UNC past No. 2 Maryland 89-81
Paige's return lifts No. 9 UNC past No. 2 Maryland 89-81
By AARON BEARD
AP Basketball Writer
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) --- Marcus Paige scored 20 points in his season debut
following a hand injury to help No. 9 North Carolina beat No. 2 Maryland 89-81
on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Brice Johnson added 16 points for the Tar Heels (6-1), who shot 53 percent and
repeatedly capitalized on Terrapins miscues to hang on in a tough matchup.
Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists to lead Maryland (6-1), which
shot 51 percent but committed 22 turnovers that UNC converted into 21 points.
This was the headlining matchup for the interconference series, pitting two
Atlantic Coast Conference charter members with Final Four aspirations. Paige
and Trimble basically took this one over for much of the second half, putting
on a show of high-level guard play to make this matchup worthy of the rankings.
Eventually, Paige and the Tar Heels --- the preseason No. 1 in The Associated
Press Top 25 before sliding with a loss at Northern Iowa --- put together
enough stops and key baskets to slowly stretch out the lead and wrestle away
control in the final 7 minutes.
Maryland missed eight of its last 10 shots as North Carolina slowly pushed a
74-72 lead back to double figures after blowing a 13-point first-half lead.
Paige finished with a 7-for-12 shooting performance and made 4 of 5 3-point
tries to go with five assists and one turnover in 34 minutes, showing no ill
effects from the broken bone in his right hand --- an injury sustained in
practice Nov. 3 --- nor rust from missing the first six games.
He also came up with a big defensive play, drawing a charge on Trimble in
transition after a turnover with 3:03 left and UNC protecting an 85-76 lead.
Maryland: Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon, booed every time he touched the ball,
scored 18 points with five 3-pointers. ... Longtime former coach and Hall of
Famer Gary Williams was in the stands and was introduced at halftime over the
UNC: Joel Berry II finished with 14 points and five assists, making three 3s.
... The Tar Heels made 9 of 13 3-pointers. ... Rapper J.Cole, an instate native
of Fayetteville, sat courtside.
Maryland hosts St. Francis (Pennsylvania) on Friday.
UNC hosts Davidson on Sunday.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the
AP's college basketball site at http://collegebasketball.ap.org