No. 6 North Carolina Beats Maryland 88-64

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Tyler Zeller had 30 points in his final home game to help No. 6 North Carolina beat Maryland 88-64 on Wednesday night.

John Henson added 19 points for the Tar Heels (26-4, 13-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who led all game to set up a matchup with No. 4 Duke this weekend to determine the league's regular-season championship.

Zeller went just 5 for 12 from the field, but finished with his best scoring performance in an ACC game thanks to the number of times he went to the free throw line. Zeller made 20 of 23 attempts, breaking Tyler Hansbrough's Smith Center record for made free throws in a game and finishing one shy of matching the program's and ACC's all-time mark.

In addition, Kendall Marshall added eight assists to set UNC's season record.

Nick Faust had 17 points to lead the Terrapins (16-13, 6-9), who shot just 37 percent and got no closer than six points early in the second half.

Terrell Stoglin, the ACC's leading scorer at 21 points per game, finished with 16 for the Terrapins on 4-for-18 shooting.

North Carolina led by 13 points in the first half and by 11 at halftime before blowing the game open with a 16-0 run over the final 12 minutes.

Reggie Bullock added 12 points for the Tar Heels, while Harrison Barnes finished with 10 on 3-for-8 shooting.

With the win, the Tar Heels can finally turn their attention to Saturday night's game at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium.

North Carolina has won six straight games since the Blue Devils snapped the Tar Heels' school-record 31-game home winning streak on Feb. 8. That game that ended with freshman Austin Rivers burying a 3-pointer at the buzzer, capping Duke's comeback from 10 down in the final 2 1/2 minutes.

The teams entered the week tied atop the league standings. The Blue Devils won at Wake Forest on Tuesday night to take care of their part, then the Tar Heels did the same 24 hours later.

Coach Roy Williams maintained the program's long-running "Senior Night" tradition by starting senior reserves Justin Watts, David Dupont, Stewart Cooper and Patrick Crouch alongside Zeller.

Zeller, a 7-foot senior, scored North Carolina's first two baskets before starting his gamelong parade to the free throw line. He finished two points shy of matching his career-high and left the game to a standing ovation with 6:39 left, greeting Williams with a handshake and a hug at the sideline.

Marshall passed Ed Cota with his 285th assist this season when he found Barnes for a jumper in the lane with 17:59 to play.

The Tar Heels led 53-42 when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon was whistled for a technical foul with 11:44 left. Zeller started the 16-0 with -- fittingly -- a free throw, while Bullock knocked down a 3-pointer and a transition layup during the run. By the time Zeller hit two more free throws at the 7:37 mark, UNC's lead had ballooned to 69-42.

The Tar Heels had a different look for this game with Nike "platinum" line uniforms. The uniforms, worn by seven men's teams across the country this season, are made of recycled material and are gray with Carolina blue trim.

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  • by Anonymous on Mar 1, 2012 at 11:53 AM
  • by chill Location: enc on Mar 1, 2012 at 11:01 AM
    Ready for the game. Go Tarheels.

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