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25 Seconds

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One of many points in this game things turned badly.

Roy Williams said Maryland was "smarter." Ty Lawson echoed that in his postgame remarks, especially in reference to one particualr play, the Tyler Hansbrough charge with 1:17 left:

"My turnover was silly. I passed the ball to Tyler, we got the charge and I probably should have pulled it back out. They just made good shots and got stops."

With 1:27 left in the game and UNC up 76-70 Greivis Vasquez made a shot to cut the Tar Heel lead to two.  UNC inbounded, broke the press and Lawson came down with Hansbrough on his left in a two-on-one.  Lawson passed the ball to Hansbrough who went up to try and score with 25 seconds left on the shot clock.  The officials whistled a charge(which was debatable) and the Terps got the ball back with 1:17 remaining.

Lawson in retrospect believes he should have pulled the ball out and run some clock.  For sake of argument let's say Lawson does that and manages the shot clock all the way down but the Heels do not score and Maryland gets the rebound.  With the extra time taken off the clock Maryland would have come down under the one minute mark and had the game played out the same from there the Heels would have been protecting a two point lead with around 42 seconds left in the game instead of a minute.  This is obviously a more advantageous position. Of course changing one event in the sequence changes everything so this rates as highly speculative on my part.

However, as much as the game hinged on some bad calls, poor shooting and the inability to stop Maryland perimeter shooters it also turned on one decision by the point guard to go for the points instead of milk the clock.  Which is not to fault Lawson or Hansbrough.  UNC runs a fastbreak offense so when they came down 2-on-1 the instinct for them is to try and score.  Besides that even had Lawson opted to kill some clock it does not necessarily mean the Heels win the game.  It can be argued however that affording Maryland less time would have pressured them more.