For the better part of the opening 20 minutes of basketball, Maryland gave 14th-ranked Virginia all it could handle. But when the surge of emotion built by the absence of injured star guard Walt Williams faded, so did the Terrapins. The Cavaliers won last night, 76-62, at Cole Field House.

Maryland (8-7, 1-4 in the ACC) trailed by only 39-34 at halftime, and by that much only by virtue of a 26-foot jumper by Cornel Parker at the buzzer. But it took the Terrapins 3:49 to get their first points of the second half. When the home team made just two field goals during an eight-minute span shortly thereafter, Virginia (11-3, 3-1) took control.

The Terrapins totaled seven points between the 14:00 and 5:15 marks. By the end of the drought many in the announced crowd of 11,754 had exited, presumably to monitor the proceedings in the Middle East.

"I don't know if Virginia picked things up or if we went down a notch. They started getting transition baskets that they hadn't gotten before," said Maryland Coach Gary Williams. "Then we didn't do a good job of running our offense; our shooting percentage went way down."

Maryland had made 48 percent of its field goal attempts in the first half, 3.5 percentage points higher than its season average. After intermission though, the Terps converted 37 percent. For the game they also missed half of their 26 free throws.

Bryant Stith led Virginia (11-3, 3-1) with 16 points. Kenny Turner and Ted Jeffries furnished 14 each. Maryland, struggling for points without leading scorer Williams, who broke his left fibula Saturday against Duke, got 16 points from Matt Roe and 14 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocked shots and 4 steals from Cedric Lewis.

"A lot of people were making a bigger deal about Walt not being there than it really was," said guard Kevin McLinton, who handled most of the playmaking, registering six points and five assists. "I felt fine. I've been out there every game; this was just playing in a different role."

Vince Broadnax moved into the starting lineup for Williams and during some rather glittering minutes it appeared Maryland might pull off a huge upset.

A jumper by Stith gave Virginia a 16-14 lead with 11:50 to play in the first half but Maryland scored the next nine points. McLinton went end-to-end against Stith for a driving layup and, fouled, a free throw with it. Lewis blocked a shot on Virginia's ensuing possession, then ran the floor to score on a driving, swooping finger roll.

With a low-scoring game seemingly Maryland's best chance for victory, the Cavaliers seemed to be playing into their opponent's hands, working the ball around the perimeter and taking as much as 20 to 25 seconds to shoot.

However, after Maryland's 9-0 spurt, the Terrapins went 6:02 before they got another basket, an omen of what was to come.

Virginia meanwhile was substituting liberally, with the clear intent of wearing down Maryland.

"Even though we had the {halftime} lead I thought Maryland had outplayed us; they were playing very hard," Virginia Coach Jeff Jones said. "I thought it was very important for us to come out in the second half playing aggressively."

Virginia led 51-40 with 14 minutes left. Stith made a jump shot and a tipin and Matt Blundin was credited with a basket when Lewis was called for goaltending. McLinton hit a free throw, but the Cavaliers then went on a 12-4 tear to 69-45 with 5:30 to play.

Maryland rallied to 71-59 with 47 seconds left. Jones, uncomfortable with the 12-point edge, put three of his starters back in to run out the clock.

"We just have to get to the point where we're playing the same way for 40 minutes," said Gary Williams. "That's our next goal -- to get these guys to play hard for all 40 minutes."

Clemson 103, W. Carolina 81: Senior center Dale Davis amassed 32 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocked shots as the ACC Tigers used a second-half barrage for a nonleague triumph at Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Tigers (9-6), ending a four-game losing streak, had only a 49-48 halftime lead before breaking a 55-55 tie with a 24-10 run. Western Carolina (7-7) got 28 points from Terry Boyd, 25 from Robert Gaines.