Maryland had one disappointment yesterday: John Bilney didn't score.
But aside from the Terrapins' only senior going scoreless in his last game in Cole Field Houe, it was all good news as the Terps romped, 82-71, over Virginia and capped a regular season that few could have envisioned three months ago.
Playing with the verve and style that have made them a delight to watch all season, the Terps blew the Cavaliers away in the final 12 minutes, despite Virginia Coach Terry Holand'"We came very close to being where we want to be."
Maryland is right where it wants to be with a 21-5 record, 11-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and a regular-season title. Virginia, touted as high as second in the country in the preseason, finished regular-season play at 19-9 overall and 7-7 in the ACC.
The cavalier were without three players, Kensington's Mike Owens, and reserves Jeff Klein and Dean Carpenter, who were suspended for their remarks to a Virginia reporter this week.
"How much did we win in the league by?" asked Coach Lefty Driesell. "Two games? That's not bad for a team picked to finish sixth."
Because Maryland won the ACC title, its second in Driesell's 11 years, the Terps will open ACC tournament play Thursday at 3 p.m. in Greensboro against eight-seeded Georgia Tech.
The Terps may be without backup center Taylor Baldwin who received 18 stitches in his left hand yesterday after he jammed it on the rim trying to dunk the ball with 4:27 left in the game.
In spite of its problems, Virginia played a superb first half, led by the shooting of Lee Raker who scored 18 points. The cavaliers shot 65 percent as a team in the half. That just kept them even, 38-38.
As John Kochan, Maryland assistant coach, noted later, "you shoot 65 percent the first half and you're tied, you have to be worried."
Virginia had good reason to worry. After Jeff Lamp (14 points in the game) broke the ACC record of 43 consecutive free throws set by Wake Forest's Skip Brown with his 44th and 45th, Maryland went to work.
From a 47-47 tie at that point -- 15:07 -- until the 4:37 mark the Terrapins outscored Virginia, 26-1, with a display of fast-break basketball that had the crowd of 14,500 in hysterics.
Buck Williams, 16 points and nine rebounds, forced 7-foot-4 Cavalier freshman Ralph Sampson into fouls his fourth and fifth, during a 44-second period when it was still a game.
First, he foxed Sampson out with 10:38 left and forced the centers' fourth with Maryland leading, 56-53. Before Sampson could turn to run downcourt. Maryland guard Greg Manning, who led the Terps with 24 points, was talking to him.
"I was just reminding him that he had four fouls and that we were going to post him down low," Manning said, grinning. "I told him we were going to Buck and get number five."
Manning's conversation with Sampson was not the first of the day. During the first half, Raker, who finished with 27 points, and Ernest Graham, who had 16 (Albert King added 15 on a relatively quiet day) almost exchanged punches.
That would have been a rematch of a fight the two had in the same build ing two years ago during which both were ejected. He hit me in the mouth with an elbow, that's all," Graham said. "I just tried to take the energy from my anger and use it to play instead of fight. I guarantee you he's hurting more now than he would have been if we had fought.'
Sampson didn't seem to hear Manning's warning. On the Terps' next possession, King fed the ball inside to William and Sampson reached over his shoulder. That was the fifth.
"I have to admit I feel great about the way I played against Sampson and (Mike) Giminski this year," Williams said, refusing to say who he would choose as the all-conference center. "I thought I matched up well with them."
Yesterday he held Sampson, showing all the emotion of a robot, to 12 points and five rebounds before Sampson left with 9:54 left.
Once Sampson's presence inside was eliminated, the Terps went to town, using an 11-0 blitz to turn a 62-57 contest with 7:35 left into a 73-57 rout three minutes later. Thus, they exited Cole 16-0 at home for the regular season.
"This season has been so enjoyable It's almost unbelievable," said King, perhaps the ACC player of the year. "We're all a little bit up on Cloud 9."
One team on Cloud 9, another with its collective head clouded. That was the story yesterday in Cole.
P.S. -- Bilney did have three rebounds. the season.
"That's 20 goals I got that helped the team, that's the