Anderson’s block turns tide as Virginia tops Maryland
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Up 37-35 with 10:40 to go, Virginia Cavaliers guard Malcolm Brogdon missed a layup, giving the Maryland Terrapins and guard Roddy Peters a breakaway layup opportunity to potentially tie the game.
There was only one problem.
Virginia swingman Justin Anderson, known for his highlight reel plays, made another one as he pinned Peters’ shot on the backboard. That then led to guard Joe Harris’ 3-pointer on the other end, giving the Cavaliers a 40-35 lead, a lead they would never relinquish.
The No. 17 Cavaliers knocked off Maryland 61-53 Monday night in front of 11,568 fans at John Paul Jones Arena.
“That was significant,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “To turn that play into three points on the other end was significant. I thought those are those swing plays, there were a few of them in the game, but that was one of them.”
That was sequence that sparked Virginia, as it continued to stay hot and grabbed a 52-41 lead with 4:54 to play.
Maryland (14-11, 6-6) fought back and used a 9-2 run sparked by guard Nick Faust to cut the Virginia lead to 54-50 with 2:10 to play. That is as close as the Terrapins would get, however, as Virginia converted their free throws down the stretch en route to the eight-point win.
It was the Cavaliers’ eighth straight win in conference play and their sixth straight win over the Terrapins, their longest in the series.
“Losing is no fun,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “With that said, we’ve gotten so much better in the last month, we are figuring it out.”
Harris led all scorers with 19 points, which included four makes from beyond the arc. Harris moved into a 14th place tie on Virginia’s career scoring list (1,546 pts).
“He (Harris) was really good in the second half,” Bennett said of his senior. “He hunted shots, our guys looked to screen him. He came out and that’s the sign of a mature player.”
Brogdon scored 14 points for Virginia and Mitchell added 13 points and six rebounds.
“I was just happy that we got the win,” Harris said. “We played all right, but not our best basketball. A win is a win, though.”
The Cavaliers shot 47 percent for the game and scored 34 points in the paint, 13 of those coming from forward Akil Mitchell. Guard Malcolm Brogdon continued his strong play as he scored 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
“Maryland is a good team,” Bennett said. “I don’t know if you guys can see it, they’re talented and hard to handle.”
Maryland made 40 percent of its shots and was led by guard Seth Allen, who scored 15 points. Guard Dez Wells added 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.
“It was a great college basketball game,” Turgeon said. “I thought our group played really well and executed when we needed them to. We did a lot of things well. There is a reason Virginia is 11-1 in the league.”
Maryland got off to a hot start from beyond the arc, as forward Evan Smotrycz knocked down two 3-pointers giving the Terrapins an 8-4 lead with 16:58 left.
After the two teams traded baskets for much of the first half, Virginia retook the lead at 19-17 and held that lead before Maryland forward Charles Mitchell’s layup gave the Terrapins a 26-23 lead with under a minute to go.
Akil Mitchell would throw down a two-handed dunk at the halftime buzzer to cut the Maryland lead to 26-25 after 20 minutes of play.
The Cavaliers shot 50 percent for the half and were led by Akil Mitchell and Brogdon, who both scored eight points.
Maryland shot just 42 percent but knocked down four 3-pointers and was led by Smotrycz and Allen, who scored eight points apiece.
Smotrycz would not score in the second half and finished the game 3-14 from the field.
NOTES: This is the final meeting between Maryland and Virginia as ACC opponents in Charlottesville. ... Virginia clinched its third consecutive winning season in ACC play for the first time since 1981-83. ... The Cavaliers are 5-2 against the Terrapins at John Paul Jones Arena. ... In Maryland’s 83-71 over Florida State on Saturday, sophomore G Seth Allen scored a career-high 32 points. ... Maryland averages 72.3 points per game, while Virginia allows just 55.6 points per game. ... Virginia G London Perrantes’ three turnovers were his first in four games.