Cavs snap Terps
Big offensive night helps UVa end skid
By Whitelaw Reid / email@example.com | 978-7247
January 17, 2007
Dave Leitao: $925,000.
John Paul Jones Arena: $130 million,
Sean Singletary: Priceless.
That was one of the many signs on display in the Virginia student section on Tuesday night at The Jack as UVa took on Maryland.
The truth of the matter is, none of the three elements - no matter what their worth - would have made any difference if Virginia didn’t get one of its best all-around efforts of the season.
UVa, behind a career-high 26 points from Mamadi Diane, and 25 points and seven assists from Singletary, snapped a three-game losing streak with a 103-91 victory over Maryland in front of 14,765 at JPJA.
Back in its friendly confines where it has lost just once this season, Virginia had five players score in double figures - Diane, Singletary, J.R. Reynolds (17 and four assists), Jason Cain (13 and 16 rebounds) and Jamil Tucker (12).
It was far from the two-man show of Singletary and Reynolds that fans have grown accustomed to.
“We had a very good practice yesterday and a very good shoot-around, so I had an air of confidence about what I thought would happen,” said Virginia coach Dave Leitao. “I told that to them before the game and reiterated it at halftime.”
Singletary said it felt great to get some help for a change.
“It makes my job easier when I have confidence that they can knock down shots and I can give them the ball,” he said.
Virginia (10-6, 2-2), which nearly led from wire to wire, completely dominated the first half. The Cavaliers came out strong and built a 20-point lead.
However, they only led 50-43 at the break because of a huge meltdown right before the half that cut the lead from 18 to seven.
“There was a sense of urgency,” said Maryland forward James Gist.
The killer sequence began with 1:33 remaining - and it came at the hands of freshman Greivis Vasquez.
After D.J. Strawberry missed a free throw, Vasquez snuck in the lane and scored on an offensive rebound.
Then, following a turnover, Vasquez hit a 3-pointer.
After another Virginia turnover, Vasquez drained another 3. On the ensuing sequence, Reynolds threw away a pass. Vasquez finally missed, but James Gist was there for the put-back score with 40 seconds remaining.
“You can’t take your foot off the gas pedal and I thought we did that mentally,” Leitao said. When the second half resumed, the teams traded baskets before Virginia began to reassert itself. A Diane 3-pointer, a pretty alley-oop from Diane to Cain and a Singletary 3 pushed the lead to 70-55 and Maryland (15-4, 1-3) was never able to get within closer than eight the rest of the way.
“In the second half of games [this season] we’ve really let down,” Leitao said, “but we didn’t tonight.”
After getting killed on the boards in its loss at North Carolina last week, Virginia was able to control the glass against Maryland, outrebounding the Terrapins 48-36. Cain led the way with a career-high 16.
“I like him a lot,” Williams said. “I don’t think any player in the league brings more effort to the game than Cain. That’s why he’s so valuable. He never lacks effort.”
Leitao was glad to see his team’s rebounding improve.
“I’ve been a little embarrassed with our performance on the backboards,” Leitao said, “because I take so much pride in it.”
Now the challenge is to continue the trend on Sunday when Virginia hosts Wake Forest.
“We have to be able to enjoy this and know that we’re capable of [games like this],” Leitao said. “This is the best defensive team in the league and we put 103 points on them, so when we’re in that mindset - we’re aggressive on both ends - there’s a lot of things we can do.”
Turtles too slow versus fiery Cavs
By Jerry Ratcliffe / firstname.lastname@example.org | 978-7251
January 17, 2007
For three long years, Virginia basketball had come up empty against its neighbors to the north.
Coming into Tuesday night, Maryland had swept the last six in a row against the Cavaliers. The Terrapins had broken the Cavs’ hearts on at least a couple of occasions during that spree, including the final game in University Hall’s history last March, and stealing one in a dramatic comeback that torpedoed UVa’s NCAA chances in 2003-04.
The Cavaliers put an end to that history with an exclamation point Tuesday night by hanging 103 points on one of the ACC’s best defensive teams.
Take that Terrapins.
None of Virginia’s present players had ever beaten Maryland, and the Cavaliers’ timing couldn’t have been any better. Coming off a two-game road skid, this was a game the Cavaliers couldn’t afford to lose.
So, in turning the Terps into turtle soup, coach Dave Leitao’s team not only avoided its first four-game losing streak under his watch, but improved to 2-2 in the ACC with 1-3 Wake Forest coming to town on Sunday.
On the other hand, it was a game that Maryland, in a difficult stretch that includes four of five games on the road, couldn’t afford to lose as coach Gary Williams’ team dropped to 1-3 in the league.
With a star-studded audience that included the new arena’s greatest contributor, Paul Tudor Jones, newly elected Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell, the Cavaliers hit the century mark for the first time against an ACC opponent since posting a 107-76 runaway at Clemson in 2001.
Leitao’s charges used balance, rebounding, an aggressive style and solid shooting to roll the Terps, 103-91.
You want balance? How about five guys in double figures, including a career-high 26 by Mamadi Diane, whose star continues to rise as the season progresses.
Sean Singletary, who is so good that we take him for granted, scored 25 and he and backcourt mate J.R. Reynolds combined to hit 23 of 26 free-throw attempts.
Then there was Jason Cain, who contributed a valuable double-double with 13 points and a JPJ-record 16 rebounds against a Terrapin team determined to destroy Virginia inside the paint.
Leitao had to have gotten satisfaction that his team showed rebounding superiority (48-36) over the bigger Terps and that his shooters shredded Maryland’s defense, which led the ACC in field goal percentage defense (.358).
Virginia converted 44.4 percent of its shots for the game (28 of 63), and shot 50 percent in the second half after the Terps battled back from a 20-point deficit to make things interesting.
Maryland obviously believed it could pound the Cavs in the paint as North Carolina had done a week before. But UVa crashed the boards and collapsed inside to discourage entry passes early in the game.
As a result, UVa led 50-30 with less than three minutes to go in the first half.
Williams turned to defense and slapped his patented fullcourt pressure on the Cavs, who coughed it up enough during those last few minutes to allow Maryland to get back in it with a 13-0 run, cutting the lead to seven, by halftime.
For the Terps, though, the pressure was a case of feast or famine.
“That was the feast,” Williams said of his team’s late first-half blitz.
The famine wasn’t anything to e-mail home about. Maryland got in foul trouble and couldn’t play as aggressively when it mattered.
Virginia wisely took full advantage of the situation and hammered away at the Terps, who committed 31 personal fouls, 19 turnovers, gave up eight steals, and shot a paltry 62.5 percent from the free-throw line in addition to getting topped on the boards.
“We gave up 100 because we didn’t play very well the first half defensively, and then the second half we were gambling,” Williams said.
It was a welcome relief to Leitao that not only did his team break out offensively against such a defensive-minded opponent, but it stopped the bleeding of a three-game losing streak.
But his team’s inconsistency in getting to 10-6 by mid-January left room for thought on how to develop this kind of play night in and night out.
“When we’re in that mindset and we’re aggressive on both ends, there’s a lot of things we can do,” said Leitao. “But we’ve got to figure out the other side of it, when we’re not on top of our game, when we don’t get the positive contributions like Jason [Cain] gave us today, like Mo [Diane] gave us today, that we can figure out a way to win basketball games.”
Leitao labeled the Cavaliers still a work in progress, but on this night, the turtle soup must have tasted pretty darned good.
New venue, new result
Virginia ends a streak of six losses to Maryland, scoring 100 against an ACC foe for the first time since 2001.
By Doug Doughty
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- The futility of Virginia's recent history against Maryland was not lost on Cavaliers senior J.R. Reynolds.
His classmate, Jason Cain, took a little longer to get the picture.
"I was in the shower [Monday] and I thought to myself, 'When was the last time we beat Maryland?' " Cain said. "I was like, 'Damn, I've never beaten them.' "
The Terrapins had won its last six games with Virginia, three of them at University Hall, but the Cavaliers' new home proved a charm Tuesday night as UVa prevailed 103-91 at John Paul Jones Arena.
"That's the best defense in the league and we put 103 points on them," said an appreciative Virginia coach Dave Leitao, aware that Maryland was holding its opponents to 35.8-percent shooting from the field.
It was the third time that Virginia (10-6, 2-2 ACC) had gone over the 100-point mark this season, but the Cavaliers hadn't scored 100 points against an ACC opponent since 2001.
The Terrapins (15-4, 1-3) was ranked No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll after handing Clemson its first loss of the season and entered the game as 1 12-point favorites.
"I knew we hadn't beaten Maryland; I'd known it for a while," said Reynolds, who made 11 of 12 free throws and finished with 17 points on a night when UVa had five double-figure scorers.
The Cavaliers were led by sophomore guard Mamadi Diane, who played at DeMatha Catholic High School, located five minutes from Maryland's campus. Diane had career highs of 26 points and four steals.
Cain had 13 points and 16 rebounds on a night when UVa outrebounded the Terps 48-36.
"I don't think any player in the league brings more effort to the game than Cain," Maryland coach Gary Williams said.
The Cavaliers, whose first-half lead reached 20 points at 50-30, watched Maryland climb back into the game by scoring the last 13 points before intermission.
Although Cain and Reynolds had one foul apiece, Leitao made late first-half substitutions for them, apparently as a precautionary measure. The move backfired when their younger replacements failed to protect the ball and hit the boards. Maryland scored three times on stickbacks
Even with their late surge, the Terps were in serious trouble at the half, having incurred 14 personal fouls, three against Mike Jones and two against four other players.
Maryland had four personal fouls in the first 2:26 of the second half, but that didn't prevent the Terps from cutting the deficit to 56-52 on a 3-pointer by Virginia-bred freshman Eric Hayes with 16:14 remaining.
Hayes had converted a three-point play moments earlier, neutralizing a Diane 3-pointer that had put Virginia ahead 56-46.
Virginia eventually rebuilt its lead to 70-55 before Williams called his fifth and final timeout with 9:44 remaining, a strategical move not seen in Charlottesville since former UVa coach Pete Gillen once matched Williams droplet for sweat-soaked droplet.
Maryland was reduced to fouling in the closing minutes and the Cavaliers converted 39 of 49 free throws, with UVa junior Sean Singletary going 12-for-14 on a 25-point night. He had gone to the free-throw line one time in UVa's previous two games, both road losses.
"Foul trouble can be a lot of things," Williams said. "It can be Virginia, it can be Maryland, it can be ..."
Williams didn't come out and blame the officials and, if he had, he wouldn't have gotten much sympathy from the Cavaliers. UVa shot 30 free throws in its previous two games, compared to 86 for the opposition.
Some of the free-throw differential could be attributed to aggressiveness, which has marked Virginia's play at the JPJ Arena, where the Cavaliers are 9-1.
"As I told our team at the half, 'This is a veteran [Maryland] team that has been through the wars,' " said Leitao, who watched the Terps build an 18-point lead before spoiling UVa's "Last Ball at U-Hall," with an 71-70 victory last season.
"You can't take your pedal off the gas."
Diane proves envy of Terps
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Maryland coach Gary Williams anticipated where the question was heading.
"Yeah, we recruited him," he said.
He didn't elaborate.
He needn't anyway, because what's done is done. Mamadi Diane is a Virginia Cavalier. And boy, was the home team ever thankful for that Tuesday night.
Diane picked a perfect time to have a career game. With the UVa season tilting towards trouble, the sophomore guard scored 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting, helping the Cavaliers snap a three-game losing streak and end a six-game drought against the Terps with a 103-91 victory.
This one was special for every Cavalier -- any win is these days -- but it was especially important to Diane. He attended DeMatha Catholic High School near the Maryland campus in College Park. He lived in Potomac, Md., "just a few miles" from Williams' home, when he made the decision to sign with Virginia instead of the school he grew up following.
"It was definitely one of my top few options," Diane said of Maryland. "They were there since my junior year and [Williams] is someone I know very well. ...
"It's always fun going against Maryland. That's the team I grew up watching, growing up right around the corner from there. That's what really opened my eyes to the ACC and made me a fan of this league."
He probably gained a few fans himself Tuesday. Whether he was attacking the rim against Maryland's pressure defense, firing a 3-pointer from the corner or throwing a perfect lob pass to teammate Jason Cain for an easy basket, Diane was a force all game long.
"Extra special" is what coach Dave Leitao called Diane's performance, and it needed to be. The Cavaliers can't live on their veteran guards alone. While Cain was posting 13 points and 16 rebounds on the interior -- another excellent sign for UVa -- Diane was providing a third perimeter threat to complement Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds, who combined for 42 points.
On a team that's oscillated from very good to pretty dreadful, perhaps no player on this roster has had more ups and downs than Diane. When he scores 20 points or more, as he did against Arizona and Gonzaga, the Cavs look like they can beat anybody. When he slumps, as he had in recent losses to Boston College and Stanford, they can be in big trouble.
"It's something I've been struggling with, something I'm trying to get over," Diane said. "I need to try to keep a high level of play every night."
The last game Diane played didn't exactly end well for him or the Cavaliers. Down by five against Boston College with less than a minute to go, Diane missed two free throws, got his own rebound, missed the putback, then slammed the ball to the floor after he was whistled for his fifth personal foul.
The display of frustration prompted another whistle -- this time a technical -- effectively killing any remaining hope for a UVa comeback.
"It was a real bad feeling, ending on such a bad note," Diane said. "It was something I just wanted to forget about and start working towards what was ahead of us."
It started Tuesday, when Diane emphasized three specific goals: Make free throws, stay out of foul trouble and finish strong at the basket.
He did all that and more. When Maryland was trying to make one final comeback, Diane squared up against the defender Eric Hayes near the top of the circle, shot-faked him into a flinch, drove, hung in the air and scored off the glass.
Yeah, the Terps recruited him. Virginia got him. And if he can play like this, that's looking like one heck of a deal for UVa.
Virginia ends losing streak, beats Maryland
After three consecutive losses, Virginia gets back on winning track at home by beating Maryland.
BY DARRYL SLATER
email@example.com | 247-4641
January 16, 2007, 11:32 PM EST
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Dave Leitao wanted offensive balance. He got five players scoring in double figures for just the second time this season.
Leitao wanted to make the opponent uncomfortable with pesky defense. He got the opposing coach, Gary Williams, so uncomfortable in the first half with his butterfingers offense that Williams looked as if he'd just chugged a gallon of Tabasco.
Despite Virginia's bouts of inconsistency Tuesday night, the Cavaliers gave Leitao what he wanted most: an end to their three-game losing streak, with a 103-91 win over Maryland at John Paul Jones Arena.
The Cavaliers (10-6, 2-2 ACC) overcame a dismal end to the first half with a 12-0 run midway through the second half -- most of which came when three of Maryland's best players were on the bench with four fouls. The spurt gave Virginia a 70-55 lead, and the Cavaliers didn't blow that one, like they almost did with a 20-point advantage with 2:47 left in the first half.
Sophomore swingman Mamadi Diane led Virginia with a career-high 26 points, as four other Cavaliers also scored in double figures: Sean Singletary (25), J.R. Reynolds (17), Jason Cain (13) and Jamil Tucker (12). The only other game in which five Virginia players scored in double figures was the 91-69 blowout of Hampton on Dec. 16.
Virginia this season has mirrored a troubling trend of Diane's career: unsightly performances on the road, impressive at home. The Cavaliers lost their past two games on the road, to North Carolina and Boston College, but are now 9-1 at their new arena and 20-4 at home under Leitao.
"We've gotta be able to enjoy this and know that we're capable," Leitao said.
Leitao's main concern with his team was its consistency, and the Cavaliers showed just why at the end of the first half. Virginia dominated the half, forcing seven Maryland turnovers in the first 12:19. But the Cavaliers collapsed in the final 1:33, as Maryland went on a 13-0 run to cut the Cavaliers' halftime lead to 50-43. The Cavaliers committed four consecutive turnovers in that run without taking a shot.
Virginia took its largest lead of the game, 50-30, with 2:47 left, when Cain dunked Diane's miss. The Cavaliers didn't score for the rest of the half, as Maryland flustered them with a pressure defense.
Maryland guard D.J. Strawberry made the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity with 1:33 left. Greivis Vasquez rebounded the miss and laid it in. Virginia turned over the inbound pass, and Vasquez hit a 3-pointer. After another turnover, Vasquez made another 3. Forward James Gist's put-back with 42 seconds left made it 50-43.
That's 11 points in 51 seconds.
"(Maryland) is a veteran team, and they've been through the wars," Leitao said. "You can't take your foot off the gas pedal. I thought we did, mentally."
Said Williams: "I like the way we came back, but it takes a lot out of you."
The Cavaliers responded in the second half by going on a 12-0 run to stretch their lead to 70-55 with 9:52 left. Tucker's 3-pointer from the corner, seemingly his favorite spot on the court, started the run with 14 minutes left. Cain's alley-oop lay-up punctuated it.
Maryland's Ekene Ibekwe had picked up his fourth foul with 11:53 remaining in the game, at which point the Terrapins' leading scorer (Strawberry), starting point guard (Vasquez) and leading rebounder (Ibekwe) all had four fouls.
All three went to the bench and didn't return until 9:44 remained and Virginia had increased its lead from 61-55 to 70-55.
"In the second half of a lot of games, we've really let down emotionally," Leitao said. "And today we didn't."
U.Va.: not this time
Cavaliers dig in after Terrapins whittle lead
BY JEFF WHITE
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 17, 2007
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- In football, the University of Virginia blew a 20-point lead and lost to Maryland at Scott Stadium in October.
For a while, the U.Va. men's basketball seemed in danger of doing the same thing at John Paul Jones Arena last night.
The Cavaliers bolted to a 50-30 first-half lead, only to see Maryland charge back. With 14:10 left in this ACC game, the Terrapins trailed by only three points, and the anxiety of the U.Va. fans in the crowd of 14,765 was palpable.
But Virginia didn't fold. The Wahoos pushed back Maryland and pulled away for a 103-91 victory, snapping a six-game losing streak in this series and improving to 9-1 at their new arena.
Maryland, the ACC leader in field-goal percentage defense, dropped to 1-3, 15-4. Virginia, which had lost three straight after whipping Gonzaga, moved to 2-2, 10-6.
"It remains a work in progress," U.Va.'s second-year coach, Dave Leitao, said, "but for today, beating a very, very good team, who has proven throughout the season that they're a force to be reckoned with, is obviously very pleasing for us."
The victory was the first for any of Virginia's players over Maryland, and seniors J.R. Reynolds and Jason Cain, in particular, savored it. Each contributed heavily to the breakthrough.
Reynolds, a 6-2 guard, had 17 points and seven rebounds. Cain, a 6-10 post player, scored 13 points -- his first game in double figures since Dec. 16 -- and tied his career high with 16 rebounds. He also blocked two shots.
Three other Cavaliers scored in double figures: sophomore swingman Mamadi Diane (career-high 26 points), junior guard Sean Singletary (25) and freshman forward Jamil Tucker, who matched his career high with 12.
For one night, at least, the Wahoos' act was more than just the Sean and J.R. Show.
"That helps out a lot," Reynolds said.
For Diane, the roller-coaster ride that's been his college career continued. Fortunately for U.Va., this was one of his high points. Three days after scoring only five points in U.Va.'s 78-73 loss at Boston College, Diane made 9 of 16 shots and added four steals, three rebounds and two assists.
Diane, who's from Potomac, Md., starred at DeMatha High, just down the road from College Park, home of the Terps.
"So it's always fun to go against them," Diane said. "It gives me that extra energy, that extra oomph."
In back-to-back losses to North Carolina and Boston College, U.Va. shot a total of 30 free throws -- to 86 for its opponents. Virginia shot 49 last night, to 24 for the Terps, most of whose regulars got into foul trouble.
Equally impressive was U.Va.'s 48-36 edge over the Terps in rebounding.
"I've been a little bit embarrassed by our performances on the backboards," Leitao said, "because I take so much pride in it. And we haven't delivered the way I would like for us to. We went back to basics that way, more rebounding drills in practice."
Against Gonzaga, Virginia built a commanding first-half lead and cruised to a 108-87 victory. A similar blowout appeared imminent late in the first half last night, but then U.Va. abruptly fell apart.
After a dunk by Cain made it 50-30 with 2:47 left, Maryland closed the half with 13 straight points -- eight by freshman point guard Greivis Vasquez. The Terps sprinted raced to the locker room with their confidence soaring.
"They're a veteran team, and they've been through the wars," Leitao said. "You can't take your foot off the gas pedal, and I thought we did mentally."
Mental toughness wasn't a problem for Leitao's team after intermission. After Maryland closed to 58-55 on two free throws by senior center Ekene Ibekwe with 14:36 remaining, the 6-9 Tucker hit the third of his three 3-pointers to start a 12-0 run by the Cavaliers.
Cavs off the skids, back in ACC mix
TIMES-DISPATCH COLUMNIST Jan 17, 2007
CHARLOTTESVILLE Had to have it.
Wasn't an option. Wasn't an either/or. Wasn't a yeah-but-we-can-always-get'em-next-time game of chance.
This was a must, no question about it. Lose to Maryland last night and tumble to 1-3 in the ACC, and Virginia is in jeopardy -- its designs for Selection Sunday an increasingly iffy proposition.
Instead, it was Maryland that left the building 1-3.
Instead, U.Va. catches its breath and moves on.
"This was very important," said Cavs guard J.R. Reynolds. "We wanted to come out and get this win. We knew they were going to bring pressure. We had to stay poised and attack whenever we could."
The Terps led this 103-91 decision once. For the grand total of five seconds. That was at 3-2, whereupon they threw up the fullcourt press that probably frightened the bejeesus out of the High Points, Fordhams and Ionas they'd undressed earlier this season.
The Cavs sliced through it on a possession that ended with a foul and Mamadi Diane's tying free throw.
That was Exhibit A. Maryland came to town with the ACC's top-rated defense -- one that had limited opponents to 35.8-percent accuracy. But Notre Dame tuned it for a decisive 56-percent second half and Boston College went for 47 percent in another Terps loss. U.Va. was good for 50 percent after the break and 44.4 all told in motoring to its highest point total in an ACC game in six years.
Time after time, the Cavs blitzed Maryland to find open shooters or seams to the rim. Yeah, they turned it over some after building a big lead, faltered toward the end of the first half and early in the second. But they never reined in their aggression. That was key.
"It's like fighting fire with fire," said U.Va.'s Sean Singletary. "When you play a team that's going to be overly aggressive, you have to be overly aggressive, too. You have to force the issue."
Singletary, as usual, was the catalyst with his 25 points, seven assists and collapse-the-defense penetrating.
"I've always felt his ability to get inside is big," said Maryland coach Gary Williams. "His ability to get by his man forced us to help, and they got a couple easy layups that hurt us."
And got the Cavs back on track.
Scrambled league, this ACC. BC loses at home to Vermont and Duquesne but zooms to a 5-0 perch in the standings. Florida State knocks off Florida but can't buy a conference win. Georgia Tech beats Duke but falls to Miami.
Maryland, likewise, flops against the 'Canes but whips undefeated Clemson.
And Virginia? Virginia handles an Arizona crew with Final Four ingredients but takes double-digit setbacks on the chin from Appalachian and Utah.
And stops the bleeding from a three-game slide and hard-time road swing to UNC and BC with this absolutely necessary performance.
As topsy-turvy as this league is, so was the first half. By the time Williams signaled his third timeout, his Terps had offered up minimal resistance on defense and little semblance of order on offense and were down 18 points. By the time the horn sounded, U.Va. was up by seven and looked like it'd just taken a standing-eight count.
In between, the lead grew to 20 before Maryland closed with a 13-zip run that could've haunted the Cavs for weeks if it'd been followed by a post-intermission haymaker.
The lead dwindled to three in the second half, but the Cavs then forced some turnovers of their own, turned a 14-2 surge into a 70-55 cushion and stayed comfortably in front the rest of the way. Singletary said his guys "took care of business." Now they're back in it and not on the skids.
Terps fall to 1-3 in ACC
Vasquez's five 3-pointers go for naught
By Heather A. Dinich
Originally published January 17, 2007
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. // Maryland freshman guard Greivis Vasquez joined the Terps with every intention of leading the team back to the NCAA tournament this season.
Last night, in a 103-91 road loss to Virginia, he learned a freshman lesson - it's tougher than he thought.
Vasquez made a career-high five three pointers and matched a career high with 17 points in his second conference road trip, but because his team was hampered by early fouls and a 20-point deficit, there wasn't much more he could do.
"In this league it's too hard," said Vasquez, who turned 20 yesterday. "As a freshman I'm learning this is hard, to take it on yourself. That happened. I'm just too passionate and trying to win every time. I thought we had a chance to win the game and I was hot. But that's not the way. I've got to listen to Coach and listen to whatever he says and run the plays however he says. I have to follow that."
The Cavaliers (10-6, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) broke their three-game losing streak this season and ended a six-game losing streak in the series against Maryland.
The Terps (15-4) fell to 1-3 in the league, a dangerous position because three of their next four games are on the road.
It's an all-too familiar situation for a team that spent the past two postseasons in the National Invitation Tournament.
"I don't think it's a big slump at all," junior forward James Gist said. "We've been in this position the past two years. I think that we're a lot better than the past two years. We're going to come out and play hard on Sunday against Virginia Tech."
Maryland trailed by as many as 20 points with 2:46 left in the first half, but managed to cut that lead to three points less than five minutes into the second half. In a way, it was a microcosm of how inconsistently the team has played this season - shooting a season-low percentage in a loss to Miami before shooting at a season-high clip three days later in an upset of then-undefeated Clemson.
Much of Maryland's near comeback last night can be attributed to a spark Vasquez provided when he scored eight quick points in the Terps' 13-0 run to close the first half. Vasquez made back-to-back three-pointers in 29 seconds and Gist capped the series with a basket that sent Maryland to the locker room trailing 50-43.
After another 22-second span in which three Maryland starters picked up their third fouls, freshman guard Eric Hayes made a three-point play followed by a three-point shot at the 16:18 mark to close the gap to 56-52.
Maryland got as close as three points twice in the next two minutes, but by then three starters were playing with four fouls apiece and the Terps started to "gamble."
"We paid for it a little bit," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We put them on the line too many times. You have a team shoot 49 free throws ... they're a good free-throw shooting team. But the whole thing was the way we started the game, just getting behind. That's what caused our problems."
In all, three Terps fouled out - D.J. Strawberry, Ekene Ibekwe and Will Bowers - and two more finished with four fouls each. Ibekwe finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Virginia made 39 of 49 free-throw attempts - one shy of the school's record for free throws made, set in 1955 against Duke. Maryland made 15 of 24.
Virginia guards Mamadi Diane and J.R. Reynolds combined to make 13 of 15 free-throw attempts in the first half. Diane finished with a game-high 26 points and guard Sean Singletary scored 25 - more than half coming from free throws.
"You never know," Williams said, a coy smile on his face. "There's a lot of things that can go into foul trouble. It can be Virginia, it can be Maryland, it can be ... "
Maryland made it a 10-point game when Vasquez made his fifth three-pointer of the night to close the gap to 80-70 with 5:41 left. He followed that with a steal and assist to Mike Jones under the basket, who finished the play with a layup. Maryland trailed 80-72 with about five minutes remaining, but Virginia again pulled away.
There were numerous occasions when Virginia chased down its missed shots, and the Terps were outrebounded 48-36.
"I don't know what it is," Strawberry said of the team's inconsistency. "One day we pass the ball great; today we come out and take dumb shots. I guess when we were getting down people kind of panicked and tried to do it themselves, but we're a team. We have to do it together. That's the only way we're going to win games, if we play as a team like we did against Clemson."
Cavs win with a total team effort
By Andy Bitter
Lynchburg News & Advance
January 17, 2007
CHARLOTTESVILLE - Dave Leitao has long lamented Virginia's reliance on its two standout guards, Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds. He knows that if the Cavaliers want to be anything more than NIT bound, they'll need more than two contributors.
The rest of the Cavaliers answered the call Tuesday.
Virginia had five players reach double figures for just the second time this season in a 103-91 win over Maryland at the John Paul Jones Arena, snapping a three-game losing streak and avoiding a dreaded 1-3 start in conference play.
Mamadi Diane scored a career-high 26 points and Jason Cain grabbed 16 rebounds to help the Cavaliers (10-6, 2-2 ACC) improve to 9-1 at home this season.
"It's a tremendous help," Reynolds said. "These guys are confident. They're just playing with energy. They're just playing loose. ? Coach said it wasn't going to take one, two or three guys to win it. It was going to take a team."
It was the first time any player on Virginia's roster had beaten Maryland (15-4, 1-3), which had won six straight in the series.
Singletary was his usual brilliant self, scoring 25 points and dishing out seven assists to one turnover, and Reynolds gutted his way through an off shooting night and a rolled left ankle, scoring 17 points. But it was their supporting cast that was the difference.
Diane's career best game came on the heels of a regrettable effort at Boston College, where the sophomore scored five points on 1 of 7 shooting and earned a technical foul for slamming the ball in frustration after fouling out late in the game.
He went 9-for-16 from the field on Tuesday and added four steals, providing solid defense on a number of Maryland players.
"Today he was extra aggressive and, as a result, extra special," Leitao said.
Cain, the much-maligned forward who has been juggled between the starting lineup and the bench all year, scored 13 points to go with his season-best 16 rebounds. He was on the verge of a breakout at BC when he scored eight points, but he was limited to just 13 minutes because of foul trouble.
"I don't think any player in the league brings more effort to the game than Cain," Maryland head coach Gary Williams said. "He just keeps playing. I've had guys like that. You just put them out there and they're going to play as hard as they can for as long as they can."
Freshman forward Jamil Tucker matched a career high with 12 points off the bench, adding depth to what has been a thin UVa lineup.
The only other game where Virginia had five players score in double figures was a 22-point win over Hampton on Dec. 16.
"It makes my job a lot easier," said Singletary who, along with Reynolds, has led UVa in scoring in 13 of 16 games.
Things looked in the bag when Virginia bolted out to a 50-30 lead with 2:45 left in the first half, but Maryland scored the final 13 points, using a fullcourt press to force the Cavaliers into turnovers on three straight possessions.
Eleven of those points came in a 52-second span during which freshman guard Greivis Vasquez scored eight of his 17 points, nailing two straight 3-pointers before James Gist tipped in a miss to send the Terrapins into the locker room facing a manageable 50-43 deficit.
Maryland got within three in the second half before the Cavaliers hit the gas pedal. Virginia solved the Terps' press and began drawing fouls. By the end of the game, three Maryland players had fouled out - including leading scorer D.J. Strawberry and leading rebounder Ekene Ibekwe - and two more had four fouls.
After going to the free throw line just 30 times in losses at North Carolina and at Boston College, UVa was 39-for-49 from the line Tuesday. Reynolds and Singletary combined to hit 23 of 26.
Maryland entered the game with the stingiest defense in the league, holding teams to 35.8 percent shooting. Virginia shot 44.4 percent from the field and scored 103 points, its third highest total this season.
"We've got to be able to enjoy this and know that we're capable," Leitao said. "We've done it a number of times this year ? but we've got to figure out the other side of it, when we're not on top of our game.
"It remains a work in progress."