COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Alex Lin, the big center from Ukraine, disappeared at times Wednesday against No. 14 North Carolina State as his teammates did not get him many touches.
But the Maryland sophomore, who missed all three shots in the first half, grabbed an airball by teammate Pe'Shon Howard and scored with 0.9 seconds left to give the Terps a 51-50 win before a sellout crowd in a poor-shooting game by both teams.
"The play was for Logan Aronhalt, but ended up with Pe'Shon driving. He said it was a pass, but maybe it was a shot," said Lin, with a laugh. "I just put it back. It was amazing. It was the first game-winner in my life. I am excited."
"He did his job. He cleaned up the miss," North Carolina State standout Lorenzo Brown (17 points) said of the game-winning shot.
The play was similar to the airball that Lorenzo Charles put back for a game-winning dunk when North Carolina State won the national title in 1983. Lin was asked about that play after the game but had never heard of that memorable American sports moment.
"We are real happy about this. We were ready," said Lin, considered a top NBA prospect. "The crowd was unbelievable. There was so much energy. It is a huge win. Now we can go to UNC (on Saturday) and be confident."
"Alex was in the right spot at the right time," Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said. "In the end, it is a win against a very good team. Of course, we got a little bit lucky. That was a big win for us."
A desperation try by the Wolfpack fell short as Maryland fans stormed the court in the first signature win for second-year head coach Turgeon.
The Terps' win ended a 10-game winning streak by North Carolina State. Maryland is now 14-3, 2-2 in the ACC, while the Pack fell to 14-3, 3-1.
"It is tough. Obviously we lost by a finger tip," said Scott Wood, who had nine points for North Carolina State. "They played extremely well. You have to give them credit."
Lin had 10 points and freshman Seth Allen had nine for Maryland, which blew a 10-point lead. But Lin saved Maryland by grabbing the ball near the basket on the missed shot by Howard and scoring the winning basket.
C.J. Leslie added 13 points for North Carolina State, which had knocked off then-No. 1 Duke on Saturday.
"Obviously it is a disappointment," North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried said outside his locker room. "I thought we battled. The game came down to a finger tip. They made the play at the end. Pe'Shon got the ball over his fingertips there and they tipped it in. We got a good look the trip before that; Scott got a high-percentage shot for us, and just didn't make it. They made the play there at the end, and give them credit."
Dez Wells' basket gave the Terps a 42-32 lead midway through the second half, but the Wolfpack went on a run to cut it to 45-43 on a 3-pointer by Brown.
A basket by the Wolfpack's Richard Howell (13 rebounds) tied the game at 45 with 5:15 left -- the first time the game had been tied since the opening tip.
A 3-pointer by Wood with 4:34 to go gave North Carolina State its first lead of the game at 48-45.
But a dunk by Lin gave the Terps a 49-48 lead with 2:13 left. Brown then hit a jump shot with 1:39 to play to give the Wolfpack a 50-49 edge, and Lin missed on his drive through traffic with 1:20 to go as the Terps yelled for a foul call.
Wood missed a shot on the baseline with 14 seconds left to keep the Maryland deficit at one point, and the Terps got the rebound to set up a chance for the win.
Maryland scored just 22 first-half points, but still led by six at halftime as the Wolfpack managed just 16 points in the first 20 minutes.
The Terps took an early 10-0 lead on a basket by Nick Faust with 15:00 left in the first half as North Carolina State missed its first seven shots.
The Wolfpack did not score until Howell's basket made it 10-2. The visitors went on a 7-0 run to pull within 14-13 on a bucket by Wood with 7:00 left in the first half.
North Carolina State shot 7-of-31 (22.6 percent) in the first half, while the Terps were 9-of-30. Allen had six points in the first half for Maryland to lead all players.
The Wolfpack entered the game leading the nation in field-goal percentage at 52.8 percent.
The inside play of North Carolina State has a lot to do with that mark, Turgeon acknowledged.
"Their big guys are so good," he said.
NOTES: Coming into the game, North Carolina State had begun ACC play 3-0 for the first time since 1988-89. The last time the Wolfpack was 4-0 in league play was in 1973-74, when the team went 30-1 overall and won the national title. ... The Wolfpack also had a 10-game winning streak, their longest since the 1988-89 season. "They are just dangerous," said Maryland's Logan Aronhalt. ... Wells is from Raleigh but did not give much consideration to North Carolina State when he transferred from Xavier to the Terps. "I did not want to be that close to home. Too many distractions," Wells said this week. ... North Carolina State entered the game with five players averaging double figures this season: Leslie (16.2), Brown (13.0), Howell (12.9), Wood (12.3) and T.J. Warren (12.3) ... Credentials were left for 14 scouts from NBA teams ...Former Maryland coach Gary Williams was honored at halftime with a painting of his likeness.