Maryland 71, Virginia 67
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP)—John Gilchrist said his intensity that seemed to be bordering on fury at times had very little to do with coming home and everything to do with Maryland’s uncharacteristic losing.
With four losses in five games, the Terrapins were desperate.
“I just wanted to come out here and more than anything else in the world get a win tonight,” the sophomore said after scoring 26 points Wednesday night to lift Maryland to a 71-67 victory at Virginia.
“I haven’t felt this hungry for a win since—just the taste of being a loser—that’s just something I’m not used to,” he said.
“I’m used to winning. It hurts so bad every time we take a loss. Just to be labeled as losers. We had to come out and get this win. Backs against the wall. That was the type of urgency we had.”
Gilchrist, who starred in high school in Virginia Beach, was jeered throughout the first half and seemed to feed off the negative energy.
He had 21 first-half points, 13 in a 23-4 run that lasted only 4 1/2 minutes, giving the Terps a 28-16 lead. He ended the half by dribbling the clock toward zero, then swishing a 25-footer with three seconds left.
“John was a great leader tonight,” Terps coach Gary Williams said. “He would not let us lose this game. … There were a lot of things riding on this game that I really didn’t need to tell the team about. They knew.”
The Terrapins (12-7, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), whose streak of 10 straight NCAA tournament appearances would have been in serious jeopardy with a loss, pulled away with an 11-3 run in the second half, then hung on despite making only 9 of 19 free throws in the last 8:29.
Virginia (12-7, 2-6 ACC), which swept Maryland last season for the first time in 10 years, pulled within 68-67 on Devin Smith’s 3-pointer with 26 seconds left, but Nik Caner-Medley hit 1 of 2 free throws and D.J. Strawberry stole the ball from Todd Billet with about eight seconds left, Gilchrist fittingly sealing it with a putback.
Elton Brown led Virginia with 24 points and J.R. Reynolds added 15, but the Cavaliers had 20 turnovers and the last one was the costliest.
Virginia coach Pete Gillen, whose team plays at North Carolina State on Saturday, was more downcast than usual and frustrated with sloppiness against an early fullcourt press that lasted pretty much throughout.
“This was a big loss,” he said. “We’ve just got to try and bounce back. We’ve got to mature mentally. Our guys, we got a little stunned. That shouldn’t happen. This part of the season, you shouldn’t turn the ball over against a press. They were taking layups. That’s ridiculous.
“You’ve got to be tougher.”
Virginia used a 10-0 run early in the second half to take a 48-45 lead, but Gilchrist tied it at 50 with his fourth 3-pointer with 12:18 left. The teams traded baskets until Caner-Medley stole the ball under his own basket and laid it in, giving the Terps a 56-54 lead with 9:26 left.
A free throw and three-point play by Strawberry pushed it to 60-54 before Reynolds’ 3-pointer cut it in half. Strawberry added a free throw and Mike Jones rebounded the miss, was fouled and hit both shots. The points capped the run that gave Maryland a 63-57 lead with 5:41 left.
Virginia got close again, but never got even and dropped from a tie for seventh with Maryland in the ACC to a tie for last with Clemson.