8:00 PM ET, March 7, 2004
Comcast Center, College Park, Maryland
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Chris McCray scored 15 of his career-high 20 points in the second half to bring Maryland back from a double-digit deficit, and the Terrapins enhanced their odds of returning to the NCAA tournament by beating Virginia 70-61 Sunday night.The victory enabled Maryland to finish in sixth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Terrapins (16-11, 7-9) are seeking to extend their school-record run of NCAA tournament appearances to 11.Elton Brown scored 16 points and Devin Smith had 15 for the Cavaliers (16-11, 6-10), who had won three straight. Todd Billet, whose clutch shooting was instrumental in those three victories, went 1-for-14 from the field -- including 0-for-10 from 3-point range.After the Cavaliers pulled even at 57, Maryland used a 7-0 run to take control. Jamar Smith made one of two free throws, John Gilchrist added a pair at the line and D.J. Strawberry sank a twisting layup before McCray capped the run with two foul shots with 2:16 remaining.Virginia closed to 64-61 before Smith made a free throw, then missed the second attempt but grabbed the rebound. McCray capped the possession by making two at the line to seal the victory.Smith, the lone senior on Maryland's roster, had 10 points and 12 rebounds in what was likely his final home game.Immediately after the final buzzer, Terrapins coach Gary Williams did a dance in front of the bench as the sellout crowd roared its approval.Up 34-27 at halftime, the Cavaliers quickly expanded the margin to 11 points on successive baskets by J.R. Reynolds in the opening 40 seconds of the second half.Maryland called a timeout, then went on an 8-0 run during which Virginia committed four turnovers and missed three shots.It was 40-38 before Jason Clark scored on a putback to end the Cavaliers' seven-minute run without a basket.McCray then scored eight points in a 14-2 run that gave Maryland a 52-44 lead with 7:30 left, but Virginia got six points from Smith in a 13-5 surge that tied it with 4:29 to go.That set the stage for another dramatic finish for the Cavaliers, whose previous three games were decided by a total of seven points.The first half featured horrid shooting by both teams. With six minutes left, Virginia trailed 18-15 despite shooting just 19 percent (5-for-27) from the field.The difference over the first 20 minutes was at the foul line, where the Cavaliers went 9-for-9 compared to a 4-for-9 performance by Maryland.