Maryland vs. Virginia Tech: Hokies prevail again, and boost their tournament hopes while damaging the Terps' chances
Wednesday, February 16, 2011; 12:12 AM
BLACKSBURG, VA. -
Whether Maryland or Virginia Tech ends up making the NCAA tournament or not next month, both will reflect on the events that took place Tuesday night at Cassell Coliseum as a moment of what could have been.
The Terrapins, meantime, will only shake their heads at how another close game slipped through their grasp. This one, though, may have been the death knell to their faint chances at securing an at-large bid next month.
The win was the Hokies' 13th in the past 16 games, and kept them in fourth place in the ACC standings. The Terrapins, despite playing significantly better than when Virginia Tech defeated them 74-57 in College Park last month, came up short yet again against a quality opponent, falling to 3-10 against the RPI's top 100.
"You're close, but that doesn't mean anything," said Maryland Coach Gary Williams after the Terrapins fell to 2-8 this year in games decided by single digits. "You may as well be far away."
Senior Malcolm Delaney led Virginia Tech (17-7, 7-4 ACC) with 22 points after shooting a perfect 14 of 14 from the free throw line, but it was his contributions across the board that kept the Hokies in position to secure their first NCAA tournament berth since 2007 with just five regular season games remaining.
Forwards Terrell Bell and Victor Davila, who came into Tuesday night's game averaging a combined 14.6 points per game, had 16 and 14 points, respectively. Senior Jeff Allen notched his sixth straight double-double, finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds despite some early foul trouble.
Virginia Tech's five starters accounted for 88 of the team's 91 points.
"Just to get that help from my teammates is big," said Delaney, who finished just 3 of 14 from the field. "To beat a good team in the ACC, you can't win with one person scoring or two people scoring. The whole team has to contribute."
The deciding basket came from Virginia Tech sophomore Erick Green, who nailed a three-pointer from the corner as the shot clock expired with 3 minutes 24 seconds left in the game. It gave the Hokies an 82-76 lead, their largest of the half, and sent the boisterous crowd of 9,686 into a frenzy.
The shot capped off a 10-2 run by the Hokies, a surge that was due in large part to Maryland's Jordan Williams (16 points, nine rebounds) picking up his fourth foul.