Another close game, but thankfully this time a much better result for Maryland. After being on the losing end of several close games this season, including last week's heartbreaking loss to FSU, the Terps were finally able to close one out as they defeated Virginia Tech 60-55 Thursday evening in Blacksburg, VA. The win gave Maryland the season sweep over the Hokies as the Terps improved to 17-6 overall and 5-5 in ACC play.
Maryland started out on fire to begin the game, making four of their first five baskets, most of which were scored by freshman Jake Layman. Head coach Mark Turgeon stuck with the same starting lineup from the Terps' last game, which included Jake Layman, Dez Wells, Alex Len, Nick Faust, and James Padgett. Layman finished the game with a team-high 14 points.
Maryland again showed off their Jekyll and Hyde tendencies, scoring 15 points in the first six minutes of the game but then going over six minutes without scoring a basket. After Maryland led by as much as 11 in the first half, Virginia Tech went on a 12-1 run to pull even at 22 with just under four minutes remaining before halftime. The Hokies would eventually take a three point lead into intermission after the Terps blew an eleven point lead.
Just like the first half, Maryland came out firing in the second and quickly took control, building a six point lead after just a minute and a half of play.
Virginia Tech continued to fight back, led by Erick Green, who at times appeared as if he couldn't miss and showed why he is the nation's leading scorer. Green finished with a game high 29 points, single handedly keeping the Hokies in the game, as he's done most of the season. While Green was the star of the show for Tech, the Hokies did a good job overall of capitalizing on Maryland's sloppy plays, often times resulted in turnovers and easy points for Virginia Tech.
While Nick Faust and Dez Wells are trying to become steady hands at the point guard position for the Terps, the team still seems like they're lacking a true floor general, often times resulting in sloppy plays as individuals try to do too much. Maryland's only real true point guard, junior Pe'Shon Howard, did a great job in his limited minutes, scoring and dishing out a few assists.
Sophomore Alex Len, who many thought might have a good night against a smaller Virginia Tech lineup, finished with just 10 points and five rebounds. Len was able to get inside, but at times struggled, especially holding onto rebounds and passes made to him inside. Senior James Padgett had a nice game, finishing with a quiet eight points to go along with 11 rebounds.
Overall, Maryland struggled with Virginia Tech's 2-3 zone, especially when they went ice cold from beyond the arc. They also had a hard time working the ball between the defenders in the zone so they could get it inside to Maryland's front court players. The Terps also struggled at the free throw line, where Maryland shot just 10/23 (43.5%) from the charity strip before finally hitting a few free throws at the end to seal the game.
In the end, it was a ACC road win for Maryland. The Terps now turn their attention to Virginia, who they'll face on Sunday at Comcast Center.