Virginia Downed By Maryland, 70-61
March 7, 2004
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Chris McCray scored 15 of his career-high 20 pointsin the second half to bring Maryland back from a double-digit deficit, and theTerrapins enhanced their odds of returning to the NCAA tournament by beatingVirginia 70-61 Sunday night.
The victory enabled Maryland to finish in sixth place in the Atlantic CoastConference. The Terrapins (16-11, 7-9) are seeking to extend theirschool-record run of NCAA tournament appearances to 11.
Elton Brown scored 16 points and Devin Smith had 15 for the Cavaliers(16-11, 6-10), who had won three straight. Todd Billet, whose clutch shootingwas instrumental in those three victories, went 1-for-14 from the field -including 0-for-10 from 3-point range.
After the Cavaliers pulled even at 57, Maryland used a 7-0 run to takecontrol. Jamar Smith made one of two free throws, John Gilchrist added a pairat the line and D.J. Strawberry sank a twisting layup before McCray capped therun with two foul shots with 2:16 remaining.
Virginia closed to 64-61 before Smith made a free throw, then missed thesecond attempt but grabbed the rebound. McCray capped the possession by makingtwo at the line to seal the victory.
Smith, the lone senior on Maryland’s roster, had 10 points and 12 reboundsin what was likely his final home game.
Immediately after the final buzzer, Terrapins coach Gary Williams did adance in front of the bench as the sellout crowd roared its approval.
Up 34-27 at halftime, the Cavaliers quickly expanded the margin to 11 pointson successive baskets by J.R. Reynolds in the opening 40 seconds of the secondhalf.
Maryland called a timeout, then went on an 8-0 run during which Virginiacommitted four turnovers and missed three shots.
It was 40-38 before Jason Clark scored on a putback to end the Cavaliers’seven-minute run without a basket.
McCray then scored eight points in a 14-2 run that gave Maryland a 52-44lead with 7:30 left, but Virginia got six points from Smith in a 13-5 surgethat tied it with 4:29 to go.
That set the stage for another dramatic finish for the Cavaliers, whoseprevious three games were decided by a total of seven points.
The first half featured horrid shooting by both teams. With six minutesleft, Virginia trailed 18-15 despite shooting just 19 percent (5-for-27) fromthe field.
The difference over the first 20 minutes was at the foul line, where theCavaliers went 9-for-9 compared to a 4-for-9 performance by Maryland.