The Terps struggled in the early going, missing their first five shots and committing two turnovers. Unfortunately for Maryland, Virginia Tech came out of the gate on fire, converting their first four shots as they opened up an early 12-0 lead, a lead which they would never relinquish. The Terps were finally able to score their first points of the game with just under 16 minutes remaining in the first half, as senior guard Adrian Bowie nailed a three pointer to cut the Tech lead to nine.
Bowie, who finished the game with 10 points, was replaced in the starting line up by fellow senior guard/forward Cliff Tucker so Tucker could provide a better match up defensively against Tech’s Malcolm Delaney. Freshman Pe’Shon Howard also started the game, replacing fellow freshman Terrell Stoglin, who was being disciplined for being late to a team function.
Unfortunately for the Terps, they were never able to rebound from the quick 12-0 Hokie run at the start of the game. Virginia Tech used a two-three zone defense that prevented Maryland from easily getting the ball inside to their leading scorer on the season, sophomore center Jordan Williams. The Tech defense seemed to stifle Maryland’s ability to run head coach Gary Williams’ flex offense, preventing Maryland from easily scoring in the paint and forcing the Terps to settle for jump shots, which they were unable to convert in the early portion of the game.
“We were forcing the ball in places we shouldn’t have been forcing the ball and they disturbed our offense” said Jordan Williams, who finished the game with his twelfth straight double-double, tying former Maryland great Len Elmore’s mark. “We should have taken our time and played our game, but we took some dumb shots, including myself. They did a good job in the zone.”
“Virginia Tech plays a good zone” said Maryland’s head coach Gary Williams. “They played it well against Carolina, Florida State, people like that. We expected it. We just didn’t do a good job attacking their zone.”
Virginia Tech received a career game from sophomore guard Erick Green, who scored 24 points on a very efficient 12 of 16 shooting. Senior guard Malcolm Delaney also played an outstanding game for Tech, scoring 19 points, grabbing five rebounds, dishing out seven assists and coming up with two steals.
Virginia Tech was able to maintain a double digit lead for most of the first half, as Maryland struggled to recover from the early Hokie run at the start the game. It seemed that every time Maryland tried to go on a run, the Hokies would respond and quickly halt it.
The Terrapins could only watch as Hokies' Victor Davila goes up for a dunk. Virginia Tech defeated Maryland 74-57 at the Comcast Center in College Park, MD on Thursday, January 20, 2011. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
With 26 seconds remaining in the first half, Adrian Bowie converted a layup that cut the Tech lead to eight, seemingly giving the Terps some momentum heading into halftime. But as they did all evening, Virginia Tech responded. With the shot clock off, Tech held the ball, hoping to run one last play before the end of the half. As the clock clicked down, Malcolm Delaney drove to the basket, drawing an extra defender off the parameter to try to stop his drive to the hoop. Realizing this meant one of his teammates should be open, Delaney looked and found sophomore guard Manny Atkins open outside the arc and kicked the ball out to Atkins, who sank just his tenth three point basket of the season with one second left in the half and gave the Hokies an 11 point halftime lead.
Maryland began the second half in a very similar fashion to the first, missing six of their first seven shots while also turning the ball over once. The Hokies continued to slowly build their lead, pushing it up to 17 with just over eleven and a half minutes remaining in the game before Cliff Tucker pulled the Terps within striking distance. The senior guard/forward from El Paso, TX, who finished the game with a team high 13 points, scored eleven of those points in a one and a half minute stretch, part of an 11-4 run that cut the Tech lead down to eight. But even with the capacity crowd at the Comcast Center on their feet cheering, the Hokies again responded, pushing their lead back up to 15.
“It was an uphill battle all night and finally we started getting momentum, then they sucked the momentum back out of us” Jordan Williams said. “It was a frustrating night all around. It’s a tough loss. Any loss is tough in the ACC. It’s just one game. We’ve got to learn from it and move on. We have a game on Saturday.”
“We have to be ready to go all out for fourth minutes” head coach Gary Williams said. We’ve done that this year and we didn’t do it tonight.”
The game marked the second home ACC loss of the season for the Terps, one season removed from a perfect 8-0 home record during ACC play. The loss dropped Maryland’s record to 1-3 in conference play and 11-7 overall.
The Terps’ next game is at home on Saturday, January 22nd at 2:30 P.M. against Clemson.