Cavs trip Terps in OT

Virginia lifts at-large hopes, rallying to end UM win streak, 89-87

Md. frontcourt fouls out

Miller scores 16 for 5-point lead at half

March 05, 2000|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- In the end, Virginia needed the victory more and Maryland needed more leeway.

The No. 17 Terrapins matched the Cavaliers' aggressiveness at a price, as their school-record conference win streak ended at nine with a flurry of referee whistles and a steady parade of Virginia players to the foul line.

After being called for a season-worst 31 fouls, Maryland appeared handcuffed on defense and eventually wore down in a bruising 89-87 overtime defeat at University Hall.

Maryland (22-8, 11-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) already had the second seed in this week's conference tournament sealed yet went down fighting in its first ACC loss since Jan. 27 at North Carolina. The Cavaliers (19-10, 9-7) scored 12 of their final 17 points from the foul line and doubled the Terps' production there, 32-16.

Virginia drastically improved its NCAA tournament chances with the win, since no ACC team with nine league victories has been left out of the tournament since it expanded to 64 teams.

"The things we're used to doing, we weren't getting away with it," Maryland forward Terence Morris said. "It's kind of hard to just stop it and bounce back from it."

When asked about the limitations of his team's foul trouble, Maryland coach Gary Williams said, "No I can't, be cause I'm not allowed to."

Maryland's entire starting frontcourt of Morris, Lonny Baxter and Danny Miller fouled out, and the Terps fielded three freshmen (Steve Blake, Tahj Holden and Drew Nicholas) and reserve Mike Mardesich for the final 1: 41 of overtime. The Terps then watched their 84-81 lead dissolve as they failed to score while committing two turnovers in the last minute.

The decisive foul came when Morris was called for pushing off on a baseline drive, sending Adam Hall to the line with 1: 41 left and sending Morris to the bench for good.

After Hall's free throws cut the deficit to one, Virginia took the lead for good when Hall hit a three-pointer from the right corner with 25 seconds left, giving the Cavaliers an 87-86 advantage.

Maryland still could have escaped and ran Juan Dixon around a screen. But the ACC's second-leading scorer missed the foul-line jumper that veered left with 12 seconds remaining.

"When it left my hand, it looked good," said Dixon, who missed nine of 12 shots for nine points and failed to reach double figures for the first time in 17 games. "It just didn't go my way."

After Virginia's Roger Mason converted both free throws for an 89-86 lead, the Cavaliers fouled Blake coming up court. The freshman point guard, who logged in 43 minutes, hit the first and intentionally missed the second. Dixon wrestled Colin Ducharme for the rebound, but the referee ruled that Dixon was out of bounds, dashing Maryland's final opportunity.

"Virginia hit a big shot at the end, there's no doubt about it," Williams said. "[Hall] drilled it. We had our chances. We had a pretty good look for Juan, but it didn't go in. Virginia played with great urgency tonight."

Although Miller scored a career-high 20 points, 16 in the first half, Maryland couldn't compensate for Morris and Baxter being in foul trouble. They combined for only 21 minutes after halftime, and Virginia seized its chance with a 29-14 rebounding edge.

So does the loss affect any of the momentum the Terps had built during the streak?

"No, not at all," Williams said. "To lose to a team in overtime on their home court when they have to win to get to the tournament, there is nothing wrong with that."

But it nevertheless irked the Terps that they couldn't hold a 54-42 lead with 18: 18 left in the second half or a three-point margin with 1: 14 remaining in overtime.

"I think we let this one get away," said Morris, who had 15 points in 25 minutes. "We had chances to put them away."

It wasn't pretty as Maryland turned the ball over 20 times and Virginia's Hall and Chris Williams both sported bandages on their face as a result of the physical play.

The feverish emotions nearly erupted into a fight, when Hall and Maryland's Drew Nicholas were tied up for a loose ball with just under two minutes left in the first half.

Lying on his back, Hall struck Nicholas in the face. Blake immediately retaliated, jumping into the pile to shove Hall to the ground and had to be restrained by a referee. Hall and Blake both received technical fouls.

Slouched in his locker room chair, Blake said, "I don't want to talk about that."

The Cavaliers, who had lost two straight, had their intensity building since that morning. That's when Virginia coach Pete Gillen had his players out on the court for an hour practice. "We have talent," Gillen said. "The mental, emotional and psychological parts are 80 percent of the game."

Maryland tested Virginia's mental toughness by never relinquishing the lead to the Cavaliers the entire second half. Hitting their first four shots, the Terps had their five-point halftime advantage balloon to 54-42 just two minutes into the second half.

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