No. 22 Maryland 74, Virginia 68

Locked in a spirited battle with undermanned Virginia, No. 22

Maryland got help from the most unexpected place in the final

minute on Saturday afternoon.

With the Terrapins leading by a point, a blocking foul on Jerome

Meyinsse sent Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett into a momentary rage.

The first-year coach peeled his jacket off and threw it, and was

called for a technical foul that essentially rescued the Terps.

Greivis Vasquez finished with 23 points, including both free

throws on the technical with 38.6 seconds to play, and Sean Mosley

added two more right after as Maryland held on, 74-68.

Maryland was 8 for 8 from the foul line in the final 38.6

seconds.

“Heck of a time to get the first technical foul of my career,

that’s for sure,” Bennett said, somewhat sheepishly. “I saw the

referee wasn’t looking and I took my jacket off and threw it down.

… It’s a hard game to swallow. I feel bad about it, though, I

really do.”

The Terrapins (23-7, 13-3 ACC) clinched at least a tie for the

conference regular season title with their seventh victory in a

row, but let a Cavaliers team playing without suspended scoring

leader Sylven Landesberg cut an 11-point deficit to one in the

final minute.

The blocking call came less than a minute after Virginia’s Will

Sherrill drew a charging on Vasquez that incensed Maryland coach

Gary Williams, helping to fuel the intense finish.

Mosley said the decisive call was a difficult one.

“The refs did a great job tonight,” Mosley said. “They’re not

going to get every call right. It was shocking to me. I had to look

around and make sure they called a block.”

Landesberg was suspended earlier in the day for not meeting

academic responsibilities, making Virginia’s performance all the

more surprising, especially when Adrian’s Bowie’s 3-pointer made it

53-41 with 12:18 to play.

The Cavaliers, after all, had lost eight straight, the last six

by double digits.

“I think guys just said, ‘Screw it. We have nothing to lose,”’

Sherrill said.

That attitude, combined with Maryland putting the game into

cruise control, produced a stirring comeback, and then a 3-point

shooting duel with the Cavaliers matching Vasquez.

“I think we got a little complacent,” Maryland guard Eric

Hayes said. “We were playing not to lose. Coach told us that and

we were able to reassert ourselves late in the game.”

Meyinsse led Virginia (14-15, 5-11) with 17 points in his final

home game. Jeff Jones hit 4 of 6 3-point attempts and scored 16

points, and Sammy Zeglinski had 14 with four 3s.

After Bowie’s 3 put the Terps ahead 53-41, Virginia scored the

next seven points, capped by Meyinsse’s dunk. Dino Gregory’s free

throw gave the Terps a 54-48 lead, but Jones and Vasquez traded

3-pointers before Jones hit another from deep, pulling Virginia to

57-54.

“There wasn’t much 3-point defense being played,” Hayes

said.

Hayes’ driving basket pushed Maryland’s lead back to five, and

after Meyinsse hit a pair of free throws, Vasquez hit the first of

his back-to-back 3-pointers. The second answered one by Sherrill,

giving the Terps a 65-59 lead with 3:39 to play, but Virginia kept

coming.

Meyinsse scored on a baby hook with 3:09 left, and after Jordan

Williams’ free throw for Maryland, Mustapha Farrakhan made a layup

and then fed Sherrill for another after a Maryland turnover,

pulling the Cavaliers within 66-65 and setting up the controversial

finish.

When Sherrill drew the charge on Vasquez, the crowd of 13,431

went wild, thinking the Cavaliers were going to close their home

season by beating the Terps again, like last year.

But Farrakahn turned the ball over, Mosley was fouled at the

comeback fell short.

Hayes added 11 points and Mosley 10 for Maryland.

Maryland led 21-9 after 8 1/2 minutes and had outrebounding the

Cavaliers 14-1. Virginia finally found some rhythm offensively,

pulling within 28-20, but a 10-4 run by the Terps allowed them to

push their lead to 38-24 before Zeglinski closed the half with a

3-pointer.