Maryland failed to score a field goal in the last eight minutes last night and the Terps were upset, 69-63, by Virginia. Mike Owens, a 6-foot-6 junior from Kensington, sank two clutch free throws with 24 seconds to go to clinch the victory at Cole Field House.
Maryland played badly and almost unbelievably followed its stunning upset of Notre Dame by losing to the Cavaliers a fourth straight time.
This time, the Terps' three leading scorers, Ernest Graham, Al King and Larry Gibson, shot a combined 18 of 52 from the floor.
Maryland guard Greg Manning described various aspects of his team's performance as "terrible... horrible... crazy."
In various hallways, Maryland Coach Lefty Diesell said his club played like prima donnas. Virginia center Steve Castellan said it was almost unbelievable.
Virginia increased its Atlantic Coast Conference record to 4-3 and its overall mark to 13-6 while Maryland dropped to 14-6 and 3-3, having won only one ACC game at home.
Jeff Lamp scored 25 points for Virginia, but it was the early unexpected scoring punch to two Maryland natives -- Castellan and Owens -- that sent Terrapin heads spinning.
Castellan, from Cheverly and a high school star at St. Anselm's, has averaged 7.6 points a game. He scored eight in the first half, in which Maryland saw a five-point lead turn into a nine-point deficit at intermission, 47-38.
But with a flurry of rebounds, blocks and dunks by Buck Williams, Maryland came back in the second half, leading 62-59 with 8:01 left. The Terps would score only one more point the rest of the way.
Maryland committed two straight turnovers, missed a pair of shots and finally Virginia capitalized with two Jeff Jones free throws to cut the lead to 62-61 with 5:50 left.
Williams, who seemed to be Maryland's only hope, had the ball stolen from him by Bobby Stokes and Lamp broke away for a layup and a 63-62 lead.
On Maryland's next possession, Graham and Gibson missed easy shots and Owens completed a six-point Virginia streak with a 16-foot baseline jumper for a 65-62 lead with 4:30 remaining.
Williams hit a free throw after a foul, and Virginia went into a stall, using up 2 minutes 14 seconds. Jones misfired from 15 feet at the two-minute mark and Williams grabbed one of his 14 rebounds.
Gibson then missed another shortrange shot, King came up empty on the follow-up and Virginia went into the four corners with 1:32 left. With 24 seconds left, Williams fouled Owens and the former Einstein High player hit both free throws to clinch the victory.
Graham missed from the top of the circle on Maryland's last trip down, and Stokes dashed for a layup at the buzzer.
Owens, shooting 67.6 percent from the foul line this year, said, "I don't look at the basket. I'm not a master of perception, but they tell me if you look at an object long enough, it seems to get closer."
If you look at Maryland long enough, it just seems to go up and down. The Terps, more offensively balanced and talented than Virginia, shot 39.7 percent -- 33 in the second half. Virginia got away with scoring only 20 points in the second half. Graham made eight of 21, King seven of 19 and Gibson three of 12.
"To win a game against a team like Maryland and only score 20 points in the second half," said Castellan, "well... it's almost unbelievable."
"We were sluggish," Driesell said. "Apparently we can't stand prosperity. We played like a bunch of prima donnas in the first half. We took bad shots, missed layups. Virginia out-hustled us. When your center doesn't score in the second half, you're in trouble."
"We can't keep a lead. That's our problem," Manning said. "We get ahead and we go totally crazy on offense.
"We played terrible. The whole thing comes down to offensive control. When the break wasn't there, we weren't setting up and running our plays. Our offense was just horrible."
"I don't know," Graham said. "Maybe we're on a holiday break or something."