- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2003

CHARLOTTESVILLE The end of a long regular season needed an extra five minutes.
Maryland center Ryan Randle couldn't tip in guard Steve Blake's desperation shot at the buzzer and let Virginia escape with an 80-78 overtime victory last night before 7,301 at University Hall. Maryland missed three 3-pointers in the final 20 seconds.
"We did a good job of getting the shot," coach Gary Williams said. "We just couldn't put it in. We didn't take a 30-footer as the last shot. The last shot was six inches."
"I wanted to make it," Randle said. "I hope it happens again so next time I'll put it in."
The No. 13 Terrapins (19-8, 11-5 ACC) still earned the second seed in the ACC tournament and will play North Carolina (16-14, 6-10) on Friday. Maryland secured the second seed shortly before last night's game after Duke (21-6, 11-5) lost to North Carolina 82-79. Virginia (15-14, 6-10) plays Duke on Friday and is now eligible for an NIT bid.
Virginia, which beat Maryland 86-78 at Comcast Center on Feb. 6, earned it's first season sweep over the Terps since 1993.
Williams said an ACC tournament title is the final goal for many of his seniors. Maryland lost in the semifinals last year before it went on to win the national championship. The Terps probably will need to reach the ACC tournament final in order to earn a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament.
"We're going down there to win the tournament," Williams said. "That would be something last year's team didn't do."
Williams was worried Maryland might overlook Virginia, especially when the game proved meaningless for the Terps while the Cavaliers needed a victory to avoid the tournament's play-in game on Thursday. Maryland looked sluggish playing for the first time in a week and only the second game in 12 days. The Terps were especially slow underneath as the Cavaliers repeatedly went inside for dunks or layups. The Maryland frontcourt players seemed a step slow.
The most telling statistic of the night was rebounding where Virginia held an ridiculous 59-36 advantage. Virginia had 23 offensive rebounds while Maryland managed just 25 defensive rebounds.
Maryland got only two points and two rebounds combined in the first half from Randle and forward Tahj Holden, and Randle's only rebound came on Virginia's opening shot. Randle even sat the final 5:54 of the half after he infuriated Williams after a turnover. Conversely, Virginia forward Jason Rogers wowed the crowd on "Senior Night" with three blocks and two monster dunks in the opening minutes.
Maryland guard Drew Nicholas continued his history of sharpshooting at University Hall. After leading a comeback victory for the Terps last year, Nicholas scored 27 points that often kept Maryland close. However, guard Blake didn't score until he hit a 3-pointer with 1:26 remaining in regulation. Maryland even went with a three-guard lineup extensively with John Gilchrist at the point trying to revive the offense.
Missed dunks and poor rebounding by Maryland allowed Virginia to lead 38-33 at halftime. Virginia outrebounded Maryland 17-3 before the Terps finally started hitting the boards. Maryland closed to 30-29 with 3:38 remaining after an 11-3 run, but missed a chance to go ahead when forward Jamar Smith had his fourth miss on five dunk attempts.
Maryland grabbed a 40-38 lead just 1:40 into the second half after Nicholas followed a Randle hook with a steal and a 3-pointer. Virginia countered by mixing its inside-outside game for a 58-51 edge.
Maryland's penchant for comebacks this season continued with four players scoring on an 8-2 run to close to 60-59 with 7:43 remaining. The Terps were finally in sync for another late run.
Maryland finally caught Virginia at 66-66 with 3:54 left on Holden's two free throws. Forward Travis Watson's four free throws gave Virginia a 70-68 edge with 1:35 remaining. Blake and Todd Billett then traded 3-pointers before Randle forced overtime on a dunk with 29.2 seconds left.
Virginia relied upon the frontcourt in overtime for its six points to lead 79-74 with 2:08 remaining. Maryland countered with Smith's free throw and Blake's second 3-pointer to close to 79-78 with 1:16 left. Watson added a free throw with 3.7 seconds remaining.

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