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Jeff Eisenberg

Extra students propel Maryland to blowout win

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Instead of playing in front of a mostly empty arena as a result of the blizzard that has rocked the Beltway region this weekend, Maryland invited all of its on-campus students to Sunday's victory over North Carolina.

Almost 3,000 ticketless students took advantage, creating a sea of red so loud and boisterous that it begs two questions: One, exactly how much liquor did they consume on the way to the arena, and two, would the Terps be better off with this crowd every week?

They roared at every slick pass or highlight slam Maryland made. They serenaded North Carolina with chants of "NIT" in the second half. They even did the wave during a timeout late in the game.

"If they had to take a dog sled, they were coming to the game," Terps coach Gary Williams told Maryland's student paper, The Diamondback. "That's a great feeling."

The atmosphere was a pleasant surprise to Williams because he expected the worst after Maryland sent out multiple notices to its season-ticket holders warning them to use extreme caution braving the snowy roads to come to the game.

Any hardy fans who did make the journey to the game were rewarded with a victory that sent Maryland closer to the top of the ACC standings and North Carolina closer to the bottom.

The Terps (16-6, 6-2) failed to achieve a single marquee victory in non-conference play, but they've now won six of seven to pull within a half game of Duke for the ACC lead.

The cavernous Comcast Center felt like intimate Cole Fieldhouse did in the early 2000s on Sunday, from the level of play from the Terps to the level of noise from the stands.

"Loudest I've ever seen it since I was here," senior Greivis Vasquez told the Baltimore Sun after the game.

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