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Off the cuff: Well, we know now that the Tar Heels can win an ACC game when not shooting free throws well. Carolina regularly hits only about half of its foul shots.

Their aggressiveness, tough defense, rebounding and Marcus Paige have offset the foul shooting.

Paige, while he rarely plays an entire game at the same level, comes through when the Tar Heels need it.

McAdoo is playing more forcefully. If he could hit free throws, he might be in the discussion for All-ACC after a rough start to the season.

If Brice Johnson continues his recent upward trend, the offense might equal the defense and make the Tar Heels a tough team for anyone in the league to play.

With Duke coming up after a visit to Notre Dame, we'll know how far the Tar Heels have come. The Devils could come into Chapel Hill and blow out the Heels. But if it's a close game, even a loss shouldn't hurt the Heels newly found confidence. Of course, Carolina has a tough assignment at Notre Dame, which will be fired up about the Tar Heels visiting their place in an ACC matchup.

Tar Heels 75, Maryland 63
Confident Tar Heels win 4th straight

North Carolina raced out to a 19-3 lead in the first five minutes and held off Maryland 75-63 for the Tar Heels fourth straight victory. (2/4)

"It was a lot of fun the first four or five minutes," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "But then it got a lot like work."

It was the last time Maryland will come to Chapel Hill as a member of the ACC and with the Heels up late, the Carolina fans let them know about it with chants of A-C-C.

Despite double-digit leads for much of the game, UNC saw Maryland cut it to three in the first half before taking a 39-27 halftime lead and saw Maryland cut it to six in the second half before winning by 12.

Brice Johnson, off the bench, led the 11-2 late first half run with three buckets while Marcus Paige led the charge in the second half with 18 of his game-high 25 points.

Johnson had his best game in a long time, maybe all year, with an eight of eight performance for 19 points in 22 minutes of play.

An active James Michael McAdoo, along with a three by Leslie McDonald, highlighted the first couple of minutes as the Heels got out to a 12-0 lead and extended the margin to 19-3 after just five minutes.

The Terps went on a 16-3 run of their own to get back in the game. The Heels led by 13 early in the second half before Maryland went on a 14-8 run to get back in it again.

"They kept coming at us but we kept answering," Coach Williams said, adding that his players are much more confident than they were a few games ago.

"They've bought into the sense of urgency issue that we've been preaching all year long," he added.

Free throw shooting is still a concern as the Heels hit only 19 of 37 but the Heels outrebounded the Terps 40-32 and didn't allow the visitors an offensive rebound the entire second half.

In getting out to the 12-point halftime lead, Carolina stole the ball 10 times but in the second half, when the teams played even, the Heels failed to get even one steal.

JP Tokoto only scored three points but he had four steals, nine rebounds and six assists. McAdoo finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Tar Heels, now 15-7 overall and 5-4 in the ACC, play at Notre Dame Saturday afternoon. Maryland falls to 13-10 overall and 5-5 in the league.


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