N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe has a few words with Lorenzo Brown (2) after falling behind Maryland by 13 points in the first half. ROBERT WILLETT - firstname.lastname@example.org
updated 10:20 p.m.
GREENSBORO — It's over.
The 2010-11 season for N.C. State's basketball team ended on Thursday night at the ACC tournament as did the careers of seniors Tracy Smith and Javier Gonzalez.
That's for certain after a 75-67 loss to Maryland in the first round.
Is it also the end of Sidney Lowe's tenure at his alma mater?
That question remains unanswered after a disappointing end to a disappointing season for the Wolfpack (15-16) on Thursday night at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Lowe will await word from first-year athletic director Debbie Yow about his future.
"We're going to sit down and talk," Lowe said. "Debbie said that from Day One, we'll sit down and talk and see where it goes from there."
Even up to the 11th hour, with Smith ailing and 5-11 ACC record, Lowe insisted his team still had a run in them.
There was one last gasp, whittling what as a 16-point Maryland lead in the second half down to six in the final 45 seconds but it came up short.
"We put it all out there for the last five minutes for sure," sophomore Scott Wood said.
Maryland (19-13), which has won nine straight against the Pack, took a 58-46 lead at 10:09 in the second and spent the next eight minutes up by at least double digits.
Smith, who labored for 14 points, got a tip-in at 2:04, followed by a steal and layup by Wood to get within 70-63 with 1:38 left.
A 10-second violation gave the Pack the ball back with 1:18 left but Maryland's Sean Mosley blocked a 3-pointer from Wood. State's Ryan Harrow grabbed the loose ball but proceeded to turn it over on an entry pass to no one.
Lowe, who fell to 86-78 overall and 5-5 in the ACC tournament, kept fighting on the sidelines until the final moments. In his signature red sport coat, he stalked the sidelines and implored Gonzalez to get the ball to Smith on the low block near the 15-minute mark.
"Bring it! Bring it! Bring it," Lowe shouted with his right arm spinning like a pinwheel.
It was a fitting snapshot of Lowe's five seasons: the former point guard, one of the smartest players in ACC history, trying to get his message across but to no avail.
At another point in the second half, Lowe angrily called a timeout after C.J. Leslie failed to block out James Padgett and proceeded to give Leslie an earful in the huddle.
"I was trying to let our team know the urgency," Lowe said. "I was animated about it because we've harped on for a long time and to allow that to happen, I wasn't happy about it."
As it was all season, State was plagued by defensive lapses and poor decision-making. But it was the easiest of functions, an open layup, which caused State to come undone in the second half.
Down 45-39 with 16:57 left in the game, Lorenzo Brown drove around Maryland's defense and got the rim alone but missed the layup. On State's next possession, Leslie missed a wide-open look, which was immediately followed by Williams hustling down the floor and dropping in layup for a 49-39 advantage.
Williams, who had 26 points in the Terps' win in College Park on Feb. 20, scored a game-high 16 to move the Terps into today's quarterfinal matchup with second-seeded Duke.
Gonzalez provided a spark with 10 points off the bench but State went 2-of-17 from 3-point range and got only four points from Wood.
Leslie finished with 11 rebounds but was abused on defense by Maryland's bigs and benched by Lowe after a questionable 18-foot while State was trying to rally in the final 3 minutes. Leslie, who led the team in rebounding this season, has not said what he plans to do for next season – leave for the NBA or return for his sophomore season.
With both the future of Lowe and Leslie in the balance, there's a good chance State will look different the next time it takes the court.