Maryland guard Adrian Bowie (1) shoots over Virginia guard… (Andrew Shurtleff /US PRESSWIRE…)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — — Maryland entered tonight's game having endured all sorts of indignities at John Paul Jones Arena. The Terps had lost three of the past four games here, barely beating a struggling Virginia team last season even while ranked in the Top 25.
Tonight, there were echoes of past Maryland struggles — poor shooting at the start, a bungled sequence before halftime.
But the Terps, capitalizing on defense, 3-pointers and a hot second half, were resilient enough to overcome the weight of recent history in a 66-42 victory over Virginia.
Maryland shot 68 percent (17-for-25) in the second half, stretching its lead from five to as many as 26. Maryland's victory margin was its largest since 1930 in a road game against the Cavaliers. Virginia's 42 points were its fewest overall since scoring 41 against Duke in 1998.
It was Maryland's second straight Atlantic Coast Conference victory, evening its conference record at 3-3 as the Terps push for an NCAA tournament bid.
Adrian Bowie (22 points) played his best game of the season for the Terps, who needed the senior guard's contributions on a night when the smaller Cavaliers put multiple defenders on leading scorer Jordan Williams. Williams was held to four points, ending his team-record streak of 13 straight double doubles.
"In ACC play, teams aren't going to let Jordan win games by himself," said Maryland swingman Cliff Tucker (13 points). "He did a great job passing the ball out."
Maryland coach Gary Williams didn't mind the circumstances under which the double double string was snapped.
"For me, I'm glad it's over. It was going to end sometime," the coach said. "For it to end on a win is really good."
Added Virginia coach Tony Bennett: "I think we all know that was a poor performance against a team that played well against us."
Maryland missed five of its first six shots and trailed by as many as five points in the first half. Virginia wires its rims for sound, so when a shooter misses off the rim, it sounds as if someone is hitting tin with a ball peen hammer. The Terps heard that unfortunate sound all too often in a first half in which Jordan Williams scored two points.
Maryland's early troubles were highlighted by a sequence at the end of the first half. Rather than pass to start a fast break, Dino Gregory (eight points, five rebounds) prematurely threw up a shot from beyond halfcourt with about four seconds on the clock before halftime. He missed.
But Maryland seemed to fluster Virginia with its defense. The Cavaliers scored 21 points in the second half and shot 33 percent for the game.
"They had trouble with our press," Bowie said. "They kept passing the ball back and forth. They weren't looking north-south. They were looking east-west."
Meanwhile, the Terps — and Bowie in particular — got hot in the second half.
After the Terps had led, 26-21, at the half, Bowie made seven straight Maryland points and Gregory's jumper pushed the Terps to a 35-24 advantage.
With the Terps ahead, 42-32, Bowie hit a field goal, then stole a pass and made a lay-in and a foul shot to up the lead to 47-34.
Bowie's previous season high was 16. His career high of 23 was set two seasons ago at Miami.
Virginia entered having lost three of four games. The Cavaliers were without leading scorer Mike Scott, whose ankle injury ended his season after just 10 games.
Without the 6-foot-8 Scott, Virginia's four leading scorers are all guards. All started, meaning the Cavaliers had just one starter — 7-footer Assane Sene — taller than 6-6.
Gary Williams tinkered with the lineup again, putting Sean Mosley back in the starting five after using him off the bench in the previous game.