North Carolina Tops Maryland 85-69 in ACCTRNY

March 9, 2012

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ATLANTA (AP) - North Carolina shook off an injury to defensive ace John Henson and pulled away from Maryland in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, winning 85-69 Friday behind the playmaking of Kendall Marshall - with plenty of help from his healthy teammates.

Reggie Bullock hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half, quickly extending a 10-point halftime lead to 42-26. Behind 30 points from Terrell Stoglin, the Terrapins sliced the deficit down to seven points a couple of times before the fourth-ranked Tar Heels pulled away again.

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North Carolina (28-4) simply had too many weapons for Maryland (17-15), which was essentially a one-man show.

Marshall was called for carrying the ball early in the second half - stunningly, the first time all season the point guard who has the ball in his hands so much of the time had been whistled for palming or traveling.

The Tar Heels could overlook that mistake. Marshall scored 13 points, knocking down three attempts from 3-point range, and had North Carolina putting on a dunking show at the rim with 12 assists.

North Carolina advanced to face either North Carolina State or Virginia in the semifinals Saturday. It's not yet known if Henson will be available.

The ACC's defensive player of the year went down hard when fouled driving to the basket early in the game, landing on his left wrist. He flexed it repeatedly and finally came out of the game with 13:51 left in the first half. After going off to the locker room to get checked out, he returned to the bench to big cheers from the largely pro-North Carolina crowd, his wrist heavily taped.

There were more cheers when Henson returned to the court with 8:06 remaining. But he lasted less than a minute, coming out when it was apparent he couldn't play with his usual effectiveness.

X-rays at halftime showed there was nothing broken, but Henson was done for the day. He watched the second half with an ice pack on his wrist, congratulating his teammates with his right hand only.

There were plenty of kudos to go around. Bullock and Harrison Barnes finished with 15 points. Tyler Zeller chipped in with 14. So did James McAdoo, taking advantage of extra playing time with Henson sidelined.

Stoglin, the ACC's leading scorer, started out strong by making his first four shots - including a couple of 3s - and three straight free throws. But when he went cold, missing his next five shots, Maryland's hopes faded away.

Things got a bit chippy at the end. Maryland's Berend Weijs was called for a flagrant foul on McAdoo, who fell on his left hand. But he wasn't hurt as bad as Henson, staying in the game until coach Roy Williams cleared his bench in the final minutes.