COLLEGE PARK -- The sports cliche-mongers say that football and baseball are games of inches.
But last night's Maryland-Virginia game became a game of feet, or specifically the 40 feet that Cavalier reserve guard Cornel Parker's shot traveled at the end of the first half.
The shot, which just beat the halftime buzzer, sent the Terps into the locker room down by five instead of by two, on the way to a 76-62 loss to the 14th-ranked Cavaliers at Cole Field House.
Maryland's Vince Broadnax had just hit a follow shot in the lane with seven seconds left in the half to bring the scrappy Terps (8-7, 1-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) to a 36-34 deficit.
But before Maryland could celebrate, Parker, a 6-foot freshman, launched the miracle shot that deflated the Terps' spirit going into the dressing room.
"I thought when I made that last shot that that was the half," said Broadnax. "I didn't think he would make that."
But he did, and Maryland, which had battled to stay with Virginia (11-3, 3-1), was never the same. The Cavaliers opened the second half with an 8-0 run, holding the Terps scoreless on five of their first six possessions of the half.
"We have to understand that was just one shot that doesn't win or lose a game," said coach Gary Williams.
"We're all adults and we have to overcome that [the shot]," said sophomore guard Kevin McLinton, who had six points and five assists in his first game in control of the Maryland offense. He is playing point guard because Maryland will be without Walt Williams for at least four weeks.
"We worked hard in the first half on defense, but we just didn't get the job done in the second half," McLinton said.
In addition to getting easy transition baskets in the second half, the Cavaliers shut down the Maryland inside attack. They limited center Cedric Lewis, who had 12 points in the first half, to just two in the last 20 minutes by alternating centers Ted Jeffries and Matt Blundin to body up on the lighter Lewis.
"It was kind of tiring," said Lewis, who pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked four shots. "They were two pretty big strong guys to deal with. But I have to learn to get adjusted."