CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Melo Trimble recorded a double-double with 23 points and a career-high 12 assists as No. 2 Maryland dropped an 89-81 decision at No. 9 North Carolina Tuesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Trimble’s double-double in points and assists was the first for a Terrapin since Eric Hayes did so against Virginia Tech in 2008. Rasheed Sulaimon added 18 points for Maryland (6-1). Robert Carter posted double-figure scoring for the seventh consecutive contest with 11 points.
“It was a great college basketball game. Tremendous atmosphere,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “I’m really proud of my team. I learned a lot about them tonight. Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon were warriors out there tonight.”
Marcus Paige, returning from a hand injury, scored 20 points in his season debut.
Brice Johnson added 16 points for the Tar Heels (6-1), who shot 53 percent to hang on in a tough matchup.
This was the headlining matchup for the interconference series, pitting two Atlantic Coast Conference charter members with Final Four aspirations. Paige and Trimble basically took this one over for much of the second half, putting on a show of high-level guard play to make this matchup worthy of the rankings.
Eventually, Paige and the Tar Heels — the preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 before sliding with a loss at Northern Iowa — put together enough stops and key baskets to slowly stretch out the lead and wrestle away control in the final 7½ minutes.
Maryland missed 8 of its last 10 shots as North Carolina slowly pushed a 74-72 lead back to double figures after blowing a 13-point first-half lead.
The Terps return to College Park for a game against St. Francis (PA) on Friday at 7 p.m. at XFINITY Center.