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February 18, 2012As Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon turned to leave his team's locker room Saturday afternoon, he shook his head slightly and looked at the University of Virginia police officer providing security and said simply, "Man, UVa is pretty good."
After a 71-44 beatdown, Turgeon should know better than most.
No. 22 Virginia, led by a 25-point, 7-rebound game from senior forward and ACC player of the year candidate Mike Scott, held the Terps to just 13 points in the second half and held conference-leading scorer Terrell Stoglin scoreless. It's the 11th time this season the Cavaliers have held an opponent under 50 points and the fifth time they've held a team under 30 percent shooting.
"I thought we played pretty well defensively in the first half," UVa head coach Tony Bennett said, "and they have some talented offensive perimeter players that made four really tough, contested threes. Seven of their nine field goals were from the 3-point line. So we said, 'Don't deviate from the intensity and the commitment. You can come away with this one with your defense.' I just kept challenging them to have that intensity from start to finish."
After back-to-back losses for the first time all season, UVa (20-6, 7-5) was seen as being in a must-win situation against UMd. Junior guard Jontel Evans, who was instrumental in keeping Stoglin off the scoreboard in the second half, agreed with that sentiment.
"After those two losses, we definitely had to come in here and get a win," he said. "The last couple of games we didn't impose our will and guys were getting easy shots. Tonight, we wanted to come in with the mindset that were going to be tough and aggressive and impose our will and that's what we did.
"Deep down I knew it was a must-win. We had to get back on track. We have to finish out these last few games strong," Evans explained.
Scott, who was 10 of 20 from the floor and 5 of 5 at the free-throw line, was clearly magnificent and at times unstoppable in his 32 minutes of work. Bennett said getting his big man the ball early was key.
The Chesapeake native, who posted his seventh 20-point game of the year, had 10 points in the game's first 7:35 seconds.
"We wanted to get him some touches," Bennett said, "and move him around some. He certainly started out on fire with his shot but it wasn't just on the perimeter. I thought he had a nice mix to his game where he got some post-ups with some outside shots and got to the line, which was nice to see. Everybody knows we need him to produce and he certainly did."
Though UVa jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead to start the game, the Terps responded and it was 31-31 at the half thanks to a Nick Faust 3-point shot just before the buzzer.
But after James Padget scored for Maryland to give the Terps a 33-31 lead with 19:48 left to play, the Cavaliers promptly went on a 16-0 run. By the time Ashton Pankey's put-back dunk rattled the rim, the Terps were down 47-35 with 11:31 left. From there, UVa went on a smaller 6-0 run and led by 20 at the under-4 media timeout.
By the end, walk-on Doug Browman, who hit a 3-pointer late, scored more in the half than the ACC-leading Stoglin.
In perhaps his most-complete game as a Cavalier, freshmanMalcolm Brogdon scored 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting (2 for 2 from behind the arc) and said afterwards that he knew his team needed him. After a four-turnover game at Clemson earlier in the week, Brogdon responded without committing one.
"Personally, I was frustrated with myself at Clemson," he said. "That's four too many. One of my main goals tonight was to limit my turnovers. (The mood of the team) was down for a little bit but once we got back on the floor, Coach Bennett picked it up and we followed his lead. We had two hard practices and we came into this game ready."
The first-year guard, who is 6-foot-5, said that defending the 6-foot-1 Stoglin, because of his height advantage, came down to contesting the shot.
"Since I'm a taller guard, I bothered him with my length," Brogdon explained. "But really, contest his shot and be alert because he moves a lot and when he has the ball, you have to sit down and move your feet."
On guarding Stoglin, Evans said he welcomed the opportunity to showcase his defensive chops.
"It was a big deal," he said. "He's the leading scorer in our conference. He's a great player and he hit some great shots, some great tough shots. I certainly looked at it as a challenge, to see where my defense is at, and he had a good first half but in the second half, me and Malcolm took it away."
Scott said the team needed to bounce back after losses at Carolina and Clemson where the team didn't defend well in the former and turned the ball over too much in the latter. His day against Maryland, an ACC scoring high in his career, made a pretty loud statement.
"As long as we win, I don't (care)," Scott said. "Career high, points, it doesn't matter. I just want to get the win."
And then there's senior guard Sammy Zeglinski, who hadn't scored in double figures in his last six games but had 11 in the win over the Terps. Having been marred by some hard times shooting the ball this season, particularly in ACC play, Zeglinski hit his first 3-point attempt of the game, shot 3 of 7 from the field and added 3 of 4 from the line.
"I know my shot has kind of gotten away from me so when I go into games, I'm thinking of other things," Zeglinski said. "I'm thinking of how can I affect it defensively or distributing the basketball. I always want to play with high energy and if the shots fall, they fall.
"I just wanted to shoot with confidence," Zeglinski said of his game against Maryalnd. "It felt good for it to go in but at the same time, I was thinking about defense and distributing. I love my fans. They're great. It was really exciting to have such a great atmosphere and it helped us on the defensive end, especially in the second half."
Now with their first 20-win season since 2006-2007, the Cavaliers head back out on the road for a Tuesday night tilt in Blacksburg against rival Virginia Tech. After a 47-45 loss to the Hokies at home earlier in the season, the meaning of the game isn't lost on the Hoos.
"It's a quick turnaround," Zeglinski said. "We know that they stole one from us here earlier in the season and we're excited to go in there and give 100 percent...We shot pretty poorly (in the first game) and it was a low-scoring game. If we stick to our principles defensively and just kind of wear them down for 40 minutes, impose our will like we did tonight, just keep that momentum going, and keep playing unselfishly on the offensive end, I think we'll be okay."
Added Evans, "The last time (UVa and Virginia Tech) played, we didn't come to play. Too many turnovers. Too many lapses on both ends of the floor. We let them come into our house and beat us. That's unacceptable. We're going to go in there Tuesday and do the things we're doing and just try to come out with the win."
Said Scott with a smile, "It's my last trip to Blacksburg coming up."
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