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Virginia defense falters in loss against Terrapins

At his post-game press conference following his team's 61-55 loss to Virginia Tech last Saturday, first-year coach Tony Bennett emphasized the need to find a third scorer to support sophomore guard Sylven Landesberg and junior forward Mike Scott. Junior guard Jeff Jones answered Bennett's call against Maryland last night, but Virginia left its defense in Blacksburg. As a result, the Terrapins shot an astounding 70 percent from the field during the first half en route to a 85-66 blowout victory, the Cavaliers' widest margin of defeat this season.

Jones' three-pointer midway through the half narrowed Maryland's early lead to six, but the Terrapins (17-7, 7-3 ACC) closed out the period on a 28-16 run that was buoyed by 25 of senior guard Greivis Vasquez's 30 total points.

Trailing 52-34, Virginia (14-9, 5-5 ACC) entered the second half facing one of its worst halftime deficits of the season, second only to its 19-point deficit to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem Jan. 23.\nThe Cavaliers failed to put together any significant run during the final period, when they shot 37.9 percent from the field and trailed by as many as 29 points leading up to the final four minutes of play.. Such poor shooting has defined the team's three-game losing streak, as Virginia has not broken the 40-percent mark during any of those games.

Though Virginia did make an impressive 20 of its 22 free-throw attempts, its 2-of-16 shooting from behind the arc disrupted any offensive rhythm it could gather. Moreover, Landesberg, the team's leading scorer with 18 points per game heading into the contest, was held to 12 points on just 5-of-13 shooting.

And though Vasquez - who finished with eight rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers in addition to his high scoring total - cooled off during the second half, the Maryland bench picked up the slack with 14 points during the period.

-compiled by Andrew Seidman

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