The Maryland Terrapins most certainly kept things close against the Virginia Cavaliers during rivalry week, but there are no moral victories during the home stretch of the season.
The Terps fell to the Cavaliers 61-53 in front of a near-sold out crowd at John Paul Jones Arena. Joe Harris, who hadn’t scored in double figures his last two games, broke his shooting slump with 19 points including four made three pointers. Harris had three points at the end of the first half, but dismantled the Terps for a second straight season with his 16 point in the second half.
Maryland actually made sure this one was close, though. The Terps held the lead at halftime, 26-25, despite shooting 43% to Virginia’s 50%. Seth Allen and Evan Smotrycz had eight points apiece, and the Terps looked fully prepared to play with the Cavaliers. That’s when they turned on the defense.
Smotrycz was held scoreless in the second half, missing all seven of his field goal attempts. Jake Layman, who had been playing some solid basketball coming into this matchup, was poked in the eye early i the second half and went 1-of-4 down the stretch.
Joe Harris, on the other hand, was just heating up.
Harris was the only Cavalier to score in double figures in the second half, and was two points shy of outscoring the rest of his team combined. With Maryland having lost the lead early in the second half, and readying to cut it to two, Harris hit a corner three pointer off a Justin Anderson block to stretch the deficit further.
The Terps got it to within four with about 1:30 to go, but Harris again continued his onslaught and pushed it back up to 6. Maryland couldn’t put together enough, and were denied scores on crucial buckets, to win the game. Multiple shot clock violations were a testament to the rigidity of Virginia’s defense.
The loss drops Maryland to 14-11 on the year, and pushes them to 6-6 in the ACC. Next up, they’ve got an even more difficult test when they head to Durham to face the Duke Blue Devils for the last time as members of the ACC. The game will be played Saturday at 6 PM.