COLLEGE PARK, Md. — If the Maryland Terrapins were to still have a shot at postseason play, they had to find their shooting touch in a hurry.
Maryland did just that in the second half of a 64-47 Atlantic Coast Conference win over the Virginia Tech Hockies on Tuesday night at the Comcast Center, snapping a two-game losing streak and keeping the Terrapins’ slim hopes alive.
Maryland (16-14, 7-9 ACC) stormed out of the locker room with senior guard Dez Wells stealing a pass and converting a three-point play to put the Terrapins back on top 31-29. That play triggered a 15-4 run.
The Terrapins opened a 43-33 lead with 14:31 remaining after back-to-back 3-pointers from forward Jake Layman, who did not start for the first time in 28 games after a 1-for-14 shooting game at Clemson. He finished with a team-high 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.
“It was huge, it got us going,” said Layman of Wells’ big play. “We had no energy in the first half, and that first play just got us going. We played with more determination in the second half. In the first half we were just kind of lackadaisical.”
Maryland had shot below 36 percent from the field as a team in losses to Clemson and Syracuse in its last two games.
Senior forward Jarrell Eddie and center Joey Van Zegeren led Virginia Tech (9-20, 2-15) with 14 points apiece. The Hokies dropped their fifth straight and their 15th game in the last 16.
Wells had 11 points for Maryland and the Terrapins got eight points apiece from guards Seth Allen and Nick Faust and forward Evan Smotrycz.
In fact, the Terrapins hit five of their first eight 3-point attempts to start the half, negating Virginia Tech’s sagging 2-3 zone and forcing the Hokies to play a little quicker with the Maryland lead in double digits.
“They were getting open shots and knocking them down,” said Eddie.
While Maryland’s perimeter game was finally unfettered, the inside game was more of a question mark than ever as sophomore forward Charles Mitchell, who started the last eight games, did not return from the locker room for the second half until the midpoint. He sat at the end of the bench and did not play after getting four points and two rebounds in 12 minutes in the first half.
“It’s discipline and I asked him to go to the locker room,” said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon of an incident coming out of the half. “I just met with Charles and we’re going to sleep on it and talk tomorrow.”
Turgeon wouldn’t say if Mitchell would be in the lineup Sunday when the Terrapins host No. 5 Virginia in their ACC regular season finale.
“The first four minutes of the second half really hurt us,” said Virginia Tech coach James Johnson. “Turning the basketball over and we went four minutes without scoring. And we’re just not built…we’re a team that’s just not built for coming back from a deficit like that.”
Virginia Tech led 29-28 at halftime — the Hokies’ first halftime lead in four games — thanks to some good work in the paint and from behind the arc.
Tech forged a 21-11 rebounding edge, turned it into a 10-2 advantage in second-chance points and hit 5 of 10 from 3-point range, including three from Eddie, who led all scorers with nine points.
After trailing for much of the early going, Virginia Tech used a 14-4 run to take a 23-17 lead at 8:18, when Eddie and guard Will Johnston hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Two free throws by forward Marshall Wood during the run gave the Hokies their first lead at 17-15 with 9:43 left in the half.
Maryland got six points from Smotrycz, who hit two early 3s to help the Terrapins to an 8-4 lead.
Maryland finished the half with a dunk by Faust with two seconds left, part of an 11-6 spree to end the half. Wells scored all six of his points during the run and also had three assists at halftime.
NOTES: Maryland closes out the regular season Sunday, hosting No. 5 Virginia at noon. Virginia Tech finishes the season Saturday at Georgia Tech. … The Terrapins did not win back-to-back games
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