It didn't take long for Maryland to find out that defending its Atlantic Coast Conference laurels won't be easy. The 23rd-ranked Terrapins got all they could handle in their conference...

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It didn’t take long for Maryland to find out that defending its Atlantic Coast Conference laurels won’t be easy.

The 23rd-ranked Terrapins got all they could handle in their conference opener last night from Florida State, which had lost 24 straight ACC road games. After blowing a 13-point lead and trailing in overtime, Maryland pulled out a 90-88 victory.

“That’s a sign of things to come in the ACC. You’re down, but never out,” said Maryland junior guard John Gilchrist, who made two free throws with 6.6 seconds left in overtime to cap a 21-point, 13-rebound performance.

Gilchrist’s free throws snapped a tie, but the Maryland victory wasn’t certain until a three-point attempt by Florida State’s Von Wafer rimmed out.

“They never go away. They’re going to keep fighting whether they’re up 10 or down 10,” said Maryland’s D.J. Strawberry, who scored five of his 11 points in overtime. “They wore us down, but in the end we prevailed.”

Six players scored in double figures for Maryland (6-2), which opened its ACC schedule last season by losing at Florida State. The Terrapins went 7-9 in the conference before winning the ACC tournament for the first time since 1984.

For a while, it appeared as if Maryland would again drop its conference opener.

The Seminoles (5-5) scored the first two baskets in overtime, but Strawberry answered with three free throws in six attempts, then scored off a steal to put Maryland up 85-84.

Wafer scored for Florida State before Mike Jones made a three-pointer for Maryland, his only points of the game. Then, after Jason Rich made a jumper to tie the score, Gilchrist made his clutch free throws after being fouled by Al Thornton.

Florida State’s Adam Waleskowski had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Thornton reached career highs with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Other games

At No. 1 Illinois 93, Valparaiso 56

Dee Brown scored 19 points to lead all five Illinois starters in double figures for the second straight game, and the Illini (10-0) overwhelmed the Crusaders (2-6).

Deron Williams scored 15 points, Roger Powell Jr. had 14, Luther Head had 11 points and nine assists and James Augustine had 10 points and nine rebounds for Illinois.

Valpo’s Dan Oppland scored 16 points.

No. 5 North Carolina 85, at Virginia Tech 51

Jawad Williams and Sean May each scored 17 points and the Tar Heels (8-1) gave the Hokies (5-3) a rough welcome to ACC basketball. Virginia Tech is a former Big East Conference team.

Raymond Felton had 15 points. Freshman Marvin Williams of Bremerton had 12 on 5-of-6 shooting from the field for North Carolina, which used 14 players in the game.

Zabian Dowdell led the Hokies with 21 points.

At No. 11 Connecticut 81, Rice 72

Rashad Anderson scored 27 points and went 7 for 8 from the free-throw line over the final two minutes to help the Huskies (5-1) defeat the Owls (5-2).

Josh Boone had a career-high 20 points and dominated inside with 14 rebounds for UConn.

Michael Harris led Rice with 22 points and nine rebounds.


• Memphis reinstated sophomore forward Sean Banks to the team after he served a one-game suspension for allegedly violating team rules. Banks was suspended Tuesday.