College Park, MD – Tyler Zeller scored 22 points and Harrison 74, at Comcast Center on Saturday.
The Tar Heels (20-3, 7-1 ACC) had lost five of their last seven trips to College Park, but got 17 points and 12 rebounds from John Henson and a career- high 16 assists from Kendall Marshall to earn the victory. They have won five straight since a disappointing 90-57 loss at Florida State.
North Carolina will host in-state rival No. 5 Duke on Wednesday night.
Terrell Stoglin scored 20 points to pace the Terrapins (13-9, 3-5), who have dropped five of their last six. They were coming off a double-overtime loss to Miami on Wednesday. Alex Len chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
The Terrapins were in control for the majority of the game, They took a 40-37 lead into the break on Len's put-back at the buzzer and were up 57-52 with 11 1/2 minutes to go.
"We played well again," said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. "(We) played with great hustle and great effort. We did a lot of things really well [but] had a stretch in the second half where we couldn't get into anything."
North Carolina came to life, reeling off seven straight to take its first lead since early in the first half. Barnes bookended the spurt with a jumper and a three-pointer and Henson had a dunk in between, as the Tar Heels went on top, 59-57.
They led the rest of the way. Although the margin wasn't comfortable, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said his team can learn from playing close games.
"Throughout the course of the season it always helps," Williams said. "We work on it in practice every other day doing last-second situations, but nothing helps like seeing it in a game."
Stoglin hit a jumper to make it a one-point game, 70-69, with 3 1/2 minutes left. But the Tar Heels leaned on their superior size to maintain the slight edge, scoring four straight on put-backs by P.J. Hairston and Henson.
James Padgett's free throw made it 74-70 and the Terrapins had a chance to further cut into the deficit after Reggie Bullock missed an ill-advised, rushed layup. Stoglin failed to capitalize, however, missing a three-pointer and Barnes sunk a pull-up jumper out of a timeout to put UNC up 76-70 with 1:06 to play.
The Tar Heels made 5-of-6 free throws the rest of the way and Henson threw down a slam at the buzzer to cap the scoring.
The Tar Heels sealed their eighth straight 20-win season under Williams. They have 54 20-win seasons in program history...The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with the Terrapins, 116-57...Bullock had 11 points.