Reggie Bullock’s hot first half lifts North Carolina to big win over Maryland

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If you were looking for the Maryland team that beat No. 14 NC State Wednesday, it did not show up in Chapel Hill for much of its matchup with North Carolina on Saturday.

Maryland turned the ball over 22 times and trailed by as many as 23 points on its way to a 62-52 loss to the Tar Heels Saturday afternoon.

North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock came out of the gate hot, scoring 21 points in the first half. He single-handedly outscored Maryland in the first half, 21-20, before cooling down in the second. He finished with 24 points on 7-of-15 from the floor.

Bullock was 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, but worked the Maryland defense in other ways by attacking the rim and sparking the North Carolina transition attack.

By scoring in transition and forcing turnovers, North Carolina ground the transition-oriented Maryland offense to a halt in the half court. The Tar Heels double-teamed star sophomore Alex Len in the paint and took away much of his face-up game.

This forced the scoring burden onto guards Dez Wells and Pe’Shon Howard.  Wells excelled with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, but Howard struggled. Howard failed to score or register an assist and turned the ball over seven times.

Maryland came out with more life in the second half with help from Wells and a revamped transition game. The Terrapins ripped off an 8-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half to cut the North Carolina lead to 15 points.

They would trim the lead down to a manageable 12-point deficit with 7:40 remaining, but North Carolina extended the lead back to 17 points with 5:49 to play.

James Michael McAdoo played more physical down low against the Maryland combination of Len and Shaquille Cleare. He tallied 19 points and 11 rebounds, including five offensive rebounds.

The win moves North Carolina to 12-5 and 2-2 in the ACC.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_