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Off the cuff: The Senior Night game was one of those you wish you had taped for posterity. The Heels top senior, Tyler Zeller, was the star during the game, scoring 30 points.

"It was a great way to go out," Zeller said. "I was actually a little nervous before the game and I'm not usually nervous."

A pair of seldom-used blue team seniors hit threes to star at the end of the game.

Greensboro senior David Dupont calmly drained a three at the buzzer to get the fans in the stands and the starters on the bench leaping for joy.

Coach Williams doesn't like his team shooting last-second shots when the game is in hand but he didn't have a problem with a senior taking and hitting that shot. Dupont said he had to take it.

"I had to do it," Dupont said. "My teammates would have killed me if I hadn't shot it. What more could you ask for - hitting a three at the buzzer on Senior Night."

Dupont said it had already been a dream come true to be on the Tar Heels team and to actually start in his last home game.

While Dupont and Patrick Crouch, another senior who hit a three, probably won't play anymore this year, Zeller still has a lot of playing to do including a regular-season finale at rival Duke.

"Duke is a great team. We gave one away here to them. Hopefully we can go over there and take one," he said.

Tar Heels 88, Maryland 64
Zeller drops a cool 30 on Senior Night

UNC's Tyler Zeller dropped in 30 points, including a Smith Center record 20 free throws, as the Tar Heels whipped Maryland on Senior Night 88-64. (2/29) Click here for a photo gallery.

Starting seldom-used seniors, along with Zeller, the Tar Heels were tied after two minutes at 2-2 when the regular starters entered the game. The Heels quickly went on a 14-2 run to set the tone for the game.

Up by 11 at the half 36-25, after being up by as many as 13 points, the Heels saw the lead dwindle to six at 38-32 after the first three minutes of the second half.

But in the next two minutes, Zeller went aggressively to the offensive boards and was fouled - four times - and he came away with eight straight free throws. That put the Tar Heels in control by 10 at 46-36.

A 15-2 UNC run, highlighted by a Kendall Marshall three and a Reggie Bullock three put the Heels up by 21 at 63-42 with less than 10 minutes to play.

The lead grew to as much as 31 points at 74-43 with 6:55 to go after two more free throws by Zeller. The starters soon left the game for good and Carolina managed to still win by 24.

Over the last two minutes, a pair of seldom-used walk-on seniors - Patrick Crouch of Asheville and David Dupont of Greensboro - drilled long three-pointers to the delight of the crowd. Dupont's three came at the buzzer.

But it was Zeller's night as his 20 free throws were a home record for most made free throws and was one behind the all-time UNC record held by York Larese from the late 1950s.

"Z was sensational," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "We felt we had a huge advantage inside and we wanted to get it in there."

Williams went on to say that Zeller, an Academic All-America, is the epitome of a true student athlete. "He has enriched my life," Coach Williams said. "He's made me a better person by knowing him."

The win, which makes the Tar Heels 26-4 and 13-2 in the ACC, sets up a regular season title game at Duke Saturday night.


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