Feb. 1, 1998
No. 23 Maryland Gets by Virginia, 77-70
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - For Gary Williams, the best part about Maryland's victory over Virginia was that he got to see the entire game.
Three days after Williams was ejected early in a blowout loss to top-ranked Duke, No. 23 Maryland tightened its grasp on third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 77-70 victory Sunday.
Rodney Elliott scored 17 points for the Terrapins, who built a 14-point lead in the second half and held on to hand Virginia its fourth straight loss.
Williams received two technical fouls in the opening six minutes of the Terrapins' 27-point defeat Thursday, but in this one he maintained his composure throughout. He had only a few casual exchanges with the officiating crew of Frank Scagliotta, Duke Edsall and Tim Higgins.
"I was resilient," Williams joked afterward.
Of course, Williams' job was made easier by the fact that Maryland (13-7, 6-4) never trailed in the final 30 minutes.
The Terrapins led 49-41 before three straight dunks got the Cavaliers within two. Sarunas Jasikevicius then scored on a drive and Laron Profit followed with a jam to spark a 14-2 run that put the Terrapins ahead 63-49 with 10 minutes left.
Curtis Staples made seven 3-pointers for the Cavaliers and moved into fourth place on the NCAA career list with 376. Mark Alberts had 375 for Akron from 1988 to 1993.
Staples scored 25 points, Norman Nolan 20 and Colin Ducharme had a season-high 14 for the Cavaliers (10-12, 2-7). Virginia is off to its worst start in the ACC since the 1984-85 season, and the Cavaliers are 0-5 on the road in the conference for the first time in a decade.
"I knew this would be a difficult game because of the way we played at Duke, the whole situation around that game, and that Virginia had a whole week to prepare for us," Williams said.
Only 27 fouls were called, including 13 against Maryland.
"I didn't see anything blatant out there. There were the right number of fouls called," Williams noted. "I guess I can say this because it's positive - the crew had a great feel for the game."
Staples brought the Cavaliers to 69-66 before Profit hit a 3-pointer with 1:17 remaining. After a Virginia miss, Elliott made two free throws to make it 74-66.
That sealed the Cavaliers' seventh loss in nine games.
"We're this close to turning it around," Virginia coach Jeff Jones said, holding his fingers a half-inch apart. "The only way to get our guys to believe that is to win some of these games."
Said Staples: "The last few games we've played hard and with intensity. For us to turn it around, we have to keep playing that way."
Obinna Ekezie had 15 points for Maryland, which improved to 10-1 at home. The Terrapins have won six of nine against Virginia, including five straight at Cole Field House.
"We knew we needed this win, coming off the Duke game," Maryland guard Terrell Stokes said. "We wanted to show that we're still a good team in the conference, and we had to prove it on our home floor."
Maryland now leads Florida State by 1 1/2 games and trails only Duke and North Carolina in the league standings.
"If we were better than the No. 1 team, we'd be in Pluto playing somewhere," Williams said with a chuckle.
Ekezie had 11 points and the Terrapins overcame four 3-pointers by Staples to take a 44-37 halftime lead.
The Cavaliers led 23-22 before Matt Kovarik made a three-point play, Jasikevicius hit a 3-pointer and Ekezie scored from the baseline to put Maryland up by seven.
Virginia made 15 of 25 field-goal attempts before halftime but also committed 11 turnovers.