RICHMOND, DEC. 3 -- For a time tonight at the Coliseum, Maryland's game against Boston College seemed more an afterthought than part of the prestigious ACC-Big East Challenge.
The Terrapins, barely more awake than the smattering of fans remaining in the stands, sleepwalked through the opening 16 minutes of a 100-85 loss. And while the team stirred intermittently from that point, there wasn't enough energy to avoid a second straight loss.
Maryland point guard Walt Williams scored 30 points, but made only nine of 24 shots. Matt Roe scored 15.
Maryland (2-2) went on a 17-3 run to go ahead by 60-51 with 15:04 remaining, but Boston College (5-1) came back on the strength of impressive three-point shooting. The Eagles then surged ahead by taking advantage of numerous mistakes by the Terrapins.
The Eagles outscored Maryland 20-8 in the final 5:38 with guard Howard Eisley making 11 straight free throws.
Maryland was also on the short end of a 20-4 first-half run that put Boston College ahead, 30-19. The Terrapins still trailed 35-23 with 5:47 left but, holding the Eagles to one field goal for the rest of the period, took a 39-38 lead into the locker room.
Opening the series for the second straight year, Pitt once again found itself victimized by a brilliant one-man performance. Virginia forward Bryant Stith overcame a first-half injury and scored 20 of his game-high 28 points after intermission to lead the Cavaliers to an 84-80 win.
Last season the Panthers were beaten 93-92 in overtime by Georgia Tech, with Dennis Scott scoring 42 points.
Tonight, John Crotty added 18 points and seven assists for the winners, who improved their record to 4-2. Pitt (4-1) was paced by Jason Matthews's 24 points.
The announced crowd of 7,702 cheered loudly throughout that game, but many left immediately after the contest and things were so quiet during the nightcap that any instruction from coaches Gary Williams and Jim O'Brien were clearly audible.
With 8:31 remaining in the first half of the Virginia-Pitt game, Stith fell hard to the floor while battling for a rebound. The junior was helped off the floor and into the locker room, where he stayed for the remainder of the half.
Without Stith, the Cavaliers struggled to find shots on the offensive end of the floor and was lucky to trail by just four points, 44-40 at halftime.
When Stith returned to the floor after intermission though, things took an almost immediate turn for the better. Pitt moved ahead 50-42 less than two minutes into the half but Virginia's all-conference forward began to dominate, scoring 10 consecutive points to tie the game at 52 with 16:11 left.
"Once I started to play and get active, I didn't feel it at all," Stith said. "The only times it bothered me were during timeouts and loose balls; it would stiffen up if I wasn't moving."
All but two of Stith's points during his early second-half spurt were scored on layups over Pitt's 6-foot-4 guard Darelle Porter. Panther Coach Paul Evans would subsequently make a switch to a bigger man, 6-9 Bobby Martin, but the Cavaliers were able to exploit that matchup as well in the late going.
A free throw by Stith with 4:43 remaining broke a 69-69 tie; less than a minute later, he hit a basket while double-clutching in the air and drawing a foul from guard Sean Miller.
The free throw gave the Cavaliers a 73-71 advantage but Stith's biggest play was still to come. With Virginia clinging to a 73-72 lead in the final four minutes, Stith grabbed the rebound after a miss by teammate Anthony Oliver.
Seconds later Virginia took a timeout. When play resumed, Stith used a screen to free himself from Martin and hit a three-point field goal to extend Virginia's lead to four. Crotty hit five free throws in the final minute.