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No. 4 Virginia takes down the Terps, 76-71, in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge

Jack Salt shines with 12 points as the Hoos out-offense Maryland on the road.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Maryland Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers (7-0) picked up a big road win at the No. 24 Maryland Terrapins, 76-71, winning their fifth straight ACC-Big Ten Challenge game. Virginia led by as many as 17, but UMD climbed back in the game with free throws and late three point shooting.

The Cavaliers had five players in double-digit scoring as Kyle Guy (18 points), De’Andre Hunter (15 points), Ty Jerome (17 points), Braxton Key (10 points), and Jack Salt all passed the ten point mark. Salt had his best game of the season with 12 points (on 6-for-7 shooting), seven rebounds, one assist, one block, one steal, and no turnovers.

Virginia shot 47% from the field, but only turned the ball over twice and picked up seven steals in the game. The Hoos went 41% from beyond the three-point arc, and matched Maryland’s 34 points in the paint.

Maryland’s Bruno Fernando finished with a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds on 6-for-8 shooting. Anthony Cowan led the Terps with 15 points. The Terps shot 54% for the game, including 55% from three in the second half.

Hunter got the scoring started with a slam dunk, but Maryland’s Cowan evened the score at two apiece with a layup after he snuck behind the defense. A floater from Jerome put the Hoos up 4-2 before Fernando got a dunk of his own to tie it again. Guy gave the Cavaliers a 7-4 lead on his first three attempt of the night, and Maryland answered with one of their own to keep pace.

On the next possession, Hunter got a clean look at a three and hit nothing but net, giving the Cavaliers a three point advantage once again. A missed rebound by Hunter gave the Terps an extra possession and this time it was big man Jalen Smith that got open for and easy look. Hunter drove the lane and got the shot to fall, but Fernando answered to make it 12-11 Virginia.

Maryland took their first lead of the game as Smith backed down Hunter for a bucket underneath, then extended it to 15-12 on a fast break following a missed shot. Guy missed a three from the corner, but Salt kept the ball alive and found Guy in the same spot. He wouldn’t miss from there twice, tying the game up once again.

The two teams traded empty possessions until Jerome buried another three after some fantastic movement off-ball. On the play, Clark cut through the lane and curled back, with Jerome trailing him and getting the pass for the three. Cowan found Fernando for an alley-oop to make it 18-17 at the under-12 timeout.

Bennett went to more defensive lineup adding Marco Anthony, Braxton Key, and Mamadi Diakite to the mix. The move paid off as the Hoos got five straight defensive stops and extended their lead to 25-17 with 6:50 to play in the half.

Two more easy buckets in the lane for Maryland closed Virginia’s advantage to four points. Guy pushed it back to seven with a three-pointer assisted by Anthony with two seconds left on the shot clock. Maryland, who was more aggressive on the glass in the first half, snatched a rebound from Key and made it 28-23 with 4:30 left in the half. Key made up for it on the other end with a three pointer from the right side of the arc, giving Virginia their largest lead of the game (to that point) at eight.

Darryl Morsell closed the gap back to six points with a long-hanging floater over Diakite. On the other end, Guy kept his hot hand going with a long two that he turned into an old-fashioned three with the follow-up free throw (the first taken by either team). Key returned the favor for the Terps on the other end of the court, and Eric Ayala was able to close the deficit to 34-28 with just over two minutes left in the first half.

Another three for Guy—his fourth of the first half—put the Hoos up by nine. Fernando followed a Smith miss, but Salt took his guy one-on-one for the strong finish at the rim to give Virginia a 39-30 halftime lead.

Guy led the Cavaliers with 15 points in the first half on 5-for-8 shooting (4-for-7 from three) as the Hoos shot 50% from the floor. The Cavaliers were clicking from three-point land, connecting on 8-of-16 attempts. Hunter added nine first half points, with Jerome chipping in eight. Virginia had just one turnover in the first 20 minutes and converted seven Maryland TOs into nine points.

Maryland shot a robust 48% from the floor in the first half, which allowed the to stay as close as they were. Their three point shooting wasn’t as strong, with Ayala hitting their lone three pointer in six attempts in the half. Fernando led the Terps with 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting.

Guy opened the scoring in the second half with his fifth three of the game, hitting it over Fernando’s outstretched hand. Cowan made one free throws to close Maryland’s deficit to 42-31, but more outstanding ball movement led to a thunderous dunk from Salt. Hunter tacked on two free throws and Salt followed a miss from Guy to make it 48-31 as the Hoos got off to a great start to the second half.

Aaron Wiggins got Maryland’s first two field goals of the half with back-to-back threes to close the gap to 11 in an instant. Jerome quieted the crowd with a floater in the lane to make it 50-37 with 15:24 to play.

Things got sloppy as both teams went on a 2+ minute scoring drought, marred with missed shots and foul calls. Morsell ended Maryland’s scoring drought with a free throw, and Diakite’s third personal foul (called on an illegal screen) gave the ball back to the Terps down just 12. Smith made a tough shot and the refs called Diakite for his fourth foul, sending him to the bench. Smith missed the free throw, keeping Virginia’s advantage in double digits.

Jerome hit another runner in the lane, and Maryland turned it over on an ambitious pass in transition, their fourth of the second half. Virginia struggled with foul trouble as the refs whistled the Hoos for nine fouls in the first 8:19 of the second half (Maryland had three in the same span).

Serrell Smith Jr. closed the deficit to nine at 52-43 with 10:59 left in the game, putting the pressure back on the No. 4 Cavaliers. Guy missed with the shot clock winding down, and Hunter was called for his third foul on the rebounding attempt. Morsell made one of two, but Clark pushed the lead back to 10 with a driving layup. Morsell hit a step-back two to make it 54-46.

Clark hit one of two at the line—the second barely rimming out—to put Virginia up nine, and Jerome intercepted a bounce pass on the other end to give the Hoos another offensive possession. They did not disappoint as Hunter threw down a monster dunk:

Salt fouled Fernando hard, but the big man made both at the free throw line. Virginia’s Kiwi bruiser negated Maryland’s points with a wide open, thunderous dunk of his own, giving the Hoos an 11 point lead with just under eight minutes remaining. Two more free throws for the Terps closed the lead to single digits, but a Key steal and transition layup gave Virginia an 11-point layup.

Wiggins closed it to 61-53 with 6:02 to play in the game on his second three-pointer of the second half. After several missed attempts on the offensive end, Fernando pulled the Terps within five with five to play as the sell-out crowd made their presence known. A missed three by Clark went out of bounds off Virginia, giving Maryland a chance to make it a one-possession game. A Cowan layup made it a four point game, but Salt followed a Guy miss to push the lead back to six. Wiggins faked a three and connected on a long two to put the Terps down just 63-59.

Jerome hit a cold-blooded three to give the Cavaliers a seven point lead with just under three minutes remaining. One more free make from Ayala cut Maryland’s deficit to six, and another Salt follow-dunk put the Hoos up 68-60. Cowan scored a layup, but Hunter delivered another devastatingly brutal dunk to give Virginia a little more breathing room. A Cowan three narrowed that breathing room to just five points with :54 remaining.

Jerome went to the line and missed the front end of the one-and-one, but Key came through with a huge block on the other end and the Cavaliers were able to corral the loose ball with 37 seconds left. The Terps fouled Jerome again, and he made both to give Virginia a 72-65 lead. Wiggins double clutched a three, somehow getting it to go despite Key and Hunter flying in trying to block the shot.

Key was fouled and converted both at the line. Hunter got a piece of a three attempt by Wiggins, and Key went back to the line to try and ice the game. He hit one of two, and Ayala answered with yet another three pointer to keep it within four. Clark missed the first of his free throws, but made the second and the Hoos ran out the clock for a 76-71 win.

Next up, Virginia hosts Morgan State on December 3rd.