CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- During Maryland's first two visits to University Hall since Gary Williams became head coach, the Terrapins seemed to get all the right bounces, not to mention their share of big plays, while beating Virginia in close games.
It appeared for nearly 37 minutes last night that Maryland's success against the Cavaliers would go uninterrupted. But after twice building 10-point leads in the second half, the Terps ran out of luck, bodies and eventually steam in losing to Virginia, 82-75, before a raucous, sellout crowd of 8,864.
While Maryland's mini-streak on the Cavaliers' home court ended, Walt Williams' recent scoring binge continued. The senior guard finished with a game-high 33 points, his sixth straight with at least 30, but he fouled out with 30 seconds remaining.
"He's human like anybody else, and he gets tired," Maryland coach Gary Williams said of the ACC's leading scorer. "Unfortunately, wedon't have a lot of flexibility when he's not in the game. We have to gear a lot of the offense to him."
As Walt Williams tired in the closing minutes, so did Maryland (8-10, 1-7). After a layup by Evers Burns (16 points) on a feed from Williams gave the Terps a 71-68 lead with 3 minutes, 10 seconds remaining, Maryland didn't score another field goal the rest of the game.
Virginia (9-8, 3-4) tied the game on the next possession, and it sort of summed up how Maryland's night turned out. Doug Smith scored on a running, one-handed bank shot in the lane, was fouled and made the free throw. But his shot followed Junior Burrough's miss and Bryant Stith's being stuffed by Vince Broadnax as he went up for a jumper.
The possession arrow pointed toward the Cavaliers.
"I felt we were getting a little stagnant, just passing the ball around the perimeter," said Smith, a junior who backs up freshman Corey Alexander at point guard. "I drove and just got fouled. I don't know what it looked like. I clammered it off the glass."
"I don't know if it was emotional, but to get a three-point play on that type of shot was a tough thing to happen for us," said Gary Williams, whose team had led by 48-38 with a little more than 15 minutes left. "You have to be able to take that and go down and answer. That's the only thing to do."
Maryland couldn't do it. First, Kevin McLinton fired a pass that slipped though Williams' fingers. Stith hit a pair of free throws. Then McLinton missed a 17-footer, and Stith, fouled as he got the rebound, made two more free throws. Finally, McLinton threw another pass that Williams couldn't handle. Anthony Oliver was fouled -- it was McLinton's fifth -- and his free throws pushed Virginia's lead to 77-71.
Just as the game appeared to be over, the Terps crept to within 77-74, as Williams made the first of two free throws with 37 seconds left and Broadnax got the rebound. The junior forward was fouled and made a pair of free throws. But after Smith was fouled, a lane violation by Ted Jeffries negated one free throw. Smith made the second for 78-74 lead. Williams then took it down the lane and was called for an offensive foul.
"I thought it was my third foul," said Williams, who finished 12 of 22 from the field, two of seven from three-point range. "If I known it was my fourth, I would never have fouled [Burrough]."
Williams' fifth foul ended any realistic chances Maryland had. Though Burrough missed both free throws, and Matthew Downing pulled the Terps to within 78-75, on a free throw with 24 seconds to go, the Terps were without Williams, McLinton and Chris Kerwin, who had fouled out earlier.
Free throws by Stith, who finished with a season-high 29 points, and Oliver, who had a season-high 17, officially put the Terps out of reach and Burrough put an exclamation mark on Virginia's much-needed victory with a breakaway dunk with two seconds left. The win broke a three-game ACC losing streak for the Cavaliers.
"The story of the game was the heart we showed in the second half," said second-year Virginia coach Jeff Jones, whose team scored 52 in the half and made only two turnovers, compared with 13 in the first half. "Nothing was going our way in the first half and Maryland had a lot to do with it. But I told our guys that if we played hard, good things would happen."
Good things finally happened for Virginia, and Maryland's luck here finally ran out.
NOTES: Williams' streak of six straight games of at least 30 points is the most in the ACC since Wake Forest's Len Chappell had eight straight in 1961-62. . . . Maryland doesn't play again until Wednesday, when the Terps make their first appearance in Tallahassee against No. 23 Florida State.
Walt Williams' streak of six straight games of 30 points or more:
Pts... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Opponent
30.. .. .. .. .. .. . North Carolina State
32.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . North Carolina
30.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Florida State
39.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . Wake Forest
31.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Clemson
33.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . Virginia