COLLEGE PARK, Md. — There might come a time in the near future when Maryland fans won’t feel compelled to storm the court after a home win over the 14th-ranked team in the country.
There was no holding them back on Wednesday night, however, because this celebration was long overdue.
Alex Len dropped in a missed shot by teammate Pe’Shon Howard with 00.9 seconds left, giving the Terrapins a stunning 51-50 victory over No. 14 North Carolina State.
Howard drove the left side and came up short on a 5-footer, but the 7-foot-1 Len grabbed the ball in front of the rim and eased it through the hoop. After the Wolfpack failed on a desperation heave at the other end, thousands of students in the sellout crowd poured onto the court after the final buzzer to mark Maryland’s first win over a ranked team since March 3, 2010, against No. 4 Duke.
Now in his second season at Maryland, coach Mark Turgeon is still trying to take the program to the level it enjoyed under its predecessor, Gary Williams. This win, despite being rather ugly, was a significant step in the rebuilding process.
“I didn’t come here to be mediocre,” Turgeon said. “I came here to do great things. We haven’t done many great things since I’ve been here. This is a great thing.”
It was lucky, too.
As Howard threw up his shot from the left side, it quickly became apparent it was going to be short.
“When he shot it, I said, ‘Oh no!’ Then I saw the big guy go up,” Turgeon said. “Alex was in the right place at the right time.”
Len, with 10 points, was the only Terrapin to score in double figures. Maryland led for much of the game but needed Len’s basket to end NC State’s 10-game winning streak.
Maryland (14-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won 10 of 11 against the Wolfpack (14-3, 3-1), including five straight at home. The Terrapins had previously lost 17 straight against ranked teams.
“We hadn’t won a big game since Greivis (Vasquez) was here,” Turgeon said.
Lorenzo Brown scored 17 points for N.C. State and C.J. Leslie had 13. The Wolfpack came in leading the NCAA with a 52.8 shooting percentage, but in this one they shot a miserable 31.1 percent.
“We were offensively pretty bad,” coach Mark Gottfried said. “We bobbled balls, we had shots around the rim we couldn’t make and it wasn’t one guy. That was one of those nights. You’re going to have those and we haven’t had a lot of them this year.
Coming off a stunning upset of then-No. 1 Duke, the Wolfpack trailed by 10 points with 9:34 left. Brown hit a jumper with 1:41 remaining to put North Carolina State up 50-49, and neither team scored again until Len’s game-winner.
“I thought our defense and our effort was phenomenal and our fight to get back in the game a couple of times was unbelievable,” Gottfried said. “We started the game off 10 down, we were down nine or 10 in the second half and fought right back and put ourselves in a position to win.”
Down 45-43, the Wolfpack pulled even on a follow shot by Richard Howell and took their first lead on a 3-pointer by Scott Wood with 4:37 to go. But N.C. State never found its shooting touch — Wood finished 3 for 13, including 3 for 11 from beyond the arc.
“They played really good defense, and when we had opportunities to knock down shots we usually make, we didn’t,” Wood said.
Asked if this negated the win over Duke, Gottfried said, “They all count as one. We’re going to move on.”
Maryland led 30-21 early in the second half before Brown made two baskets — including a driving dunk — during a 9-2 run that cut the margin to one point.
James Padgett then scored for the Terrapins and Jake Layman popped a 3-pointer to make it 37-30. Minutes later, a 3-pointer by Howard put Maryland ahead 40-31, and a driving layup by teammate Dez Wells made it a 10-point game.
The Wolfpack went 6 minutes without a basket before a driving layup by Leslie cut the deficit to 42-35. That was part of an 8-0 spurt that got N.C. State to 42-40.
A horrid first half ended with Maryland leading 22-16 despite shooting 30 percent, going 0 for 6 from 3-point range and committing seven turnovers.
The Wolfpack needed more than 7 minutes before getting onto the scoreboard and shot 23 percent (7 for 31) in its lowest-scoring half of the season.
Maryland got off a solid start, getting two baskets apiece from Seth Allen and Shaquille Cleare in going up 10-0. The Wolfpack opened 0 for 6 with three turnovers.
Howell ended N.C. State’s scoring drought with a layup at the 13:52 mark, and then the Wolfpack missed their next six shots. Maryland also went cold, missing 16 straight field-goal tries over a span of nearly 12 minutes. Howard snapped the dry spell with a driving layup to put the Terrapins ahead 16-13.
No. 13 BUTLER 62, RICHMOND 47
INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Smith scored 15 points, Kellen Dunham added 11 and Butler used a stifling defense to pull away from Richmond in its first Atlantic 10 Conference home game.
Butler (15-2, 3-0) heads into Saturday’s home showdown with No. 8 Gonzaga on a 12-game winning streak. The Bulldogs won without top scorer Rotnei Clarke, who missed the game with a severely sprained neck and has already been ruled out of Saturday’s game.
Richmond (11-7, 1-2) was led by Darien Brothers’ 12 points but has lost two straight and five of seven. The Spiders were playing without their second-leading scorer, Derrick Williams, who missed his fourth straight game with a sprained ankle.
UNLV 82, No. 15 SAN DIEGO STATE 75
SAN DIEGO — Anthony Marshall scored a season-high 20 points, and Justin Hawkins and Khem Birch scored off rebounds on consecutive possessions in the final 1:18 for UNLV.
Bryce Dejean-Jones scored 14 points and Birch had 12 for the Runnin’ Rebels (15-3, 2-1 Mountain West Conference), who fell out of the AP Top 25 on Monday after losing at New Mexico and going to overtime against Air Force before winning.
The Runnin’ Rebels outrebounded the Aztecs 43-31.
The Aztecs’ loss left No. 19 New Mexico as the only team with a perfect league record at 3-0.
Jamaal Franklin had a game-high 27 points while freshman Winston Shepard had 18 and Chase Tapley 16 for the Aztecs (14-3, 2-1).
San Diego State hadn’t lost at home since a 77-67 defeat to New Mexico on Feb. 15.
No. 16 KANSAS STATE 67, TCU 54
FORT WORTH, Texas — Rodney McGruder scored 21 points and Kansas State stretched its winning streak to seven games.
The Wildcats (14-2, 3-0 Big 12) got off to a slow start before taking control with a 19-4 run midway through the first half.
McGruder’s layup with 11 minutes left in the first half tied the game at 10, after Kansas State had fallen behind 10-5. The Wildcats led for good when McGruder had a defensive rebound and turned that into a fastbreak 3-pointer by Will Spradling. A floater by McGruder stretched the lead to 24-14.
Adrick McKinney had 18 points and nine rebounds for TCU (9-8, 0-4).
No. 17 MISSOURI 79, GEORGIA 62
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Earnest Ross scored 15 points to help Missouri rebound from its biggest loss of the season.
Alex Oriakhi had 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Tigers (13-3, 2-1 SEC), who were held to a season-low 49 points in a 15-point loss at Mississippi on Saturday. Their second game without leading scorer Laurence Bowers, who has a sprained right knee, was a major improvement for a team that’s 10-0 at home this season and 26-1 at the Mizzou Arena in two seasons under coach Frank Haith.
Vincent Williams had a career-best 23 points on 7-for-10 shooting for Georgia (6-10, 0-3), nine more than his previous best after entering with a 4.1-point average. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Bulldogs’ lone player averaging in double figures, added 15 points.
No. 18 MICHIGAN STATE 81, PENN STATE 72
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Adreian Payne scored 20 points after spending the first half on the bench following a morning scuffle with Michigan State teammate Brandon Dawson.
Payne made up for lost time by dominating the post in the second half. He had 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in a stretch of 6-plus minutes after entering the game with about 16:30 left.
Payne added a 3-pointer — only his second of the season — in the middle of a 20-8 run to help the Spartans (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten) pull ahead midway through the second half.
Penn State (8-9, 0-5) stayed closed much of the game in large part to Jermaine Marshall, who scored 22 of his career-high 29 points after halftime.
An argument between roommates Dawson and Payne escalated into an exchange of punches in a second-floor lobby of a Penn State campus hotel, before the Spartans boarded a bus for the Jordan Center.
Police were called after a wall was dented at the hotel. The players were expected to pay for the damage.
No. 19 NEW MEXICO 79, BOISE STATE 74, OT
BOISE, Idaho — Tony Snell scored 22 points and Hugh Greenwood added 15 to lead New Mexico to the overtime win.
Snell and Greenwood dominated the overtime, teaming for nine of the Lobos’ 16 points. The win was the third straight for the Lobos (16-2, 3-0 Mountain West Conference).
Derrick Marks scored 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting for Boise State (13-3, 1-1), which saw its seven-game winning streak snapped and have yet to beat New Mexico since joining the Mountain West last season.
Greenwood put the game into overtime when he took advantage of a Boise State miscue on defense and drove a wide-open lane for a layup, tying the score at 63 with 54 seconds left.
No. 25 MARQUETTE 69, SETON HALL 62
MILWAUKEE — Reserve forward Davante Gardner scored 17 points to lead Marquette over injury-depleted Seton Hall, which had just eight available players.
The Golden Eagles (13-3, 4-0 Big East), who moved into the AP Top 25 on Monday for the first time this season, got 12 points from Todd Mayo to win their season-high sixth straight game.
Vander Blue had 11 points and four assists as the three Golden Eagles combined to go 17 of 18 from the free throw line to claim their 19th consecutive home victory.
Aaron Cosby had 15 points for Seton Hall (12-6, 1-4), which never led in the game.
Haralds Karlis added 14 points and six rebounds for the Pirates, who dropped their season-high fourth straight game.