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Virginia rallies from 17 down, tops Maryland in OT

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Virginia did not lead for the final 38:56 of regulation, but the Cavaliers found a way to pull out a 61-58 overtime win over Maryland on Sunday night.

Virginia (21-10, 11-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) overcame a 17-point first half deficit to win its 17th consecutive home game. The Cavaliers also snapped a two-game losing streak and picked up a much-needed win for their NCAA Tournament hopes.

"When you're down as many as we were, shooting the ball the way we were, when you're missing free throws, just struggling giving up things, you just have to claw back possession by possession," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said.

Mike Tobey tipped in an Akil Mitchell miss to put Virginia ahead 60-58 with 1:47 to go in overtime. It capped an impressive performance for the freshman big man off the bench. Tobey finished with 13 points and six rebounds while matching up with Maryland center Alex Len.

"I love that he's playing physical," Mitchell said of Tobey. "He's not perfect yet, but he's going to be good."

With Maryland down by two, Terrapins swingman Dez Wells lost the ball out of bounds, giving Virginia possession with 8.2 seconds left in overtime. Mitchell made one of two free throws, and Wells' 3-point attempt at the buzzer rimmed out.

For Virginia, it was a change of fortune from the previous two games. The Cavaliers lost by one at Boston College and by two at Florida State when both teams scored on their final possessions.

"Knowing that we could win a close game like this after Florida State and Boston College, just so many close games, to finally get this one, it felt good," Mitchell said.

Mitchell had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead Virginia. Harris added 15 points despite shooting just 4-for-18 from the field.

Nick Faust led Maryland (20-11, 8-10 ACC) with 15 points, but he scored only two points in the second half. Wells had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Len finished with 10 points.

In regulation, Harris buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 52 with 1:37 left. Up until that point, Harris had made just three of 15 shots from the field and only one of six from 3-point range.

"I was just happy that it tied the game," Harris said. "I could care less if I miss 100 in a row and I make that one. I still had a lot of confidence shooting the basketball. I just had one of those off nights."

Wells then hit a runner with 23.8 seconds left to put Maryland ahead 54-52. Virginia tried to run a play but never got anything going, forcing Bennett to call a timeout with just under seven seconds to go.

Justin Anderson inbounded the ball to Tobey. Len tried to steal the pass but was unable to come up with the ball. Tobey then converted the layup with 5.4 seconds to go to tie the game.

Bennett said that he drew up a play in the timeout that had three options.

"He's the third option," Bennett said. "Justin, I thought, made a terrific pass, and a good seal, good hands by Mike. They played it a certain way to take away the corner 3, so that opened up the positioning. He sealed him and certainly had the touch to make it."

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said his team played an intelligent game with the exception of that defensive lapse.

"We just didn't play smart right then," Turgeon said. "Everybody did it right but one, and they scored."

Terrapins guard Pe'Shon Howard's runner on the other end was blocked by Anderson at the buzzer to force the extra period.

Maryland has now lost five of its past eight games, and the Terrapins finish the regular season with a 2-7 road record in ACC games. Turgeon said he thought his team needed a quality road win to draw on for the future.

"We're growing up," Turgeon said. "We just haven't grown up all the way to do that."

Maryland led 32-19 at the half.

After an early 19-2 run, the Terrapins held a 25-8 edge with 8:47 to play in the opening period. Maryland got it done with some hot shooting from beyond the arc, hitting four of its first seven shots from 3-point range.

Faust scored 13 first-half points as Maryland built its lead, connecting on all three attempts from 3-point distance.

The Terrapins held a 17-point advantage on three different occasions in the first half.

Maryland only shot 32.8 percent from the field for the game, while Virginia hit 36.8 percent.

NOTES: Maryland leads the all-time series 106-72, but Virginia has won the past four meetings. ... Maryland will be the seventh seed in the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C. The Terrapins will face Wake Forest on Thursday night. ... Virginia is the fourth seed in the ACC tournament, and it receives a bye into the quarterfinals on Friday. The Cavaliers will play the North Carolina State-Virginia Tech winner.
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