February 14, 2009
Hokies fall at Maryland, 83-73
By Jimmy Robertson
Virginia Tech (16-8, 6-4) 294473
Maryland (16-8, 5-5) 344983
  • College Park, Md. (Comcast Center) - 17,950
  • High Points: 20 - A.D. Vassallo
  • High Rebounds: 9 - Jeff Allen

COLLEGE PARK, Md.Despite getting another solid game from standout forward A.D. Vassallo and some strong contributions from its bench, Virginia Tech couldn’t overcome a rested Maryland squad, falling to the Terrapins 83-73 in an ACC game played Saturday afternoon at the Comcast Center

The loss snapped the Hokies’ two-game winning streak and their three-game winning streak over Maryland. Tech fell to 16-8 overall on the season, 6-4 in the league. Maryland – playing its first game in six days – won its second straight and third in the past four games, moving to 16-8 overall, 5-5 in the ACC.

“Obviously they played well,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “They had a week to prepare and they took us out of what we wanted to do. We were reacting to them the whole game.

“I was disappointed in our team. We had no sense of urgency on the defensive end whatsoever. We had two horrendous days of practice and that’s what you get. The game was a reflection of that. We had no flow offensively and had no toughness defensively. They had a greater sense of urgency. That’s my fault and I take responsibility for that. We need to demand more and I’m sure that practice on Monday will be spirited.”

Maryland scored on five of its first seven possessions of the second half and built an 11-point lead – its biggest of the game – following a Greivis Vasquez 3-pointer with 16:16 left. The Hokies cut the lead to 48-45 on a 3-pointer by Vassallo, but Maryland’s Eric Hayes answered with a trey with 11:33 remaining to build the lead back to six, and following a Tech turnover, Maryland’s Landon Milbourne converted on a three-point play with 10:57 left that pushed the lead back to nine.

Maryland gradually built the lead to as many as 13. Tech got no closer than six points the rest of the game.

The Hokies got off to a slow start and never led. The Terps led by as many as eight points on three different occasions in the first half, thanks largely to Landon Milbourne’s 14 first-half points. Fortunately, Tech got some great play from its bench to stay in the game. The Hokies got 12 points from their bench in the first half, led by Lewis Witcher’s eight on 4-of-4 shooting, and only trailed 34-29 at the break. Witcher’s scored more points in the first half than he had in any game this season.

Witcher finished with eight points, just three short of his career high. He spearheaded the Hokies’ bench, which finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds for the game.

Vassallo scored more than 20 points for the third time in the past four games, finishing with exactly 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the floor. The Hokies’ leading scorer on the season, Malcolm Delaney, finished with 16 points on 6-of-15 from the floor. He extended his streak of scoring in double figures to 29 straight games.

Also, Jeff Allen, the Hokies’ third-leading scorer, finished with just eight points before fouling out with 3:15 remaining.

Milbourne paced the Terrapins with 23 points. Vasquez added 17 points before he fouled out with 2:33 left. As a team, Maryland shot 48.1 percent from the floor and hit 7-of-18 from beyond the 3-point arc.

“We didn’t do a good job on defense and that’s something we talked a lot about in practice,” Vassallo said. “They took the game to us and broke us down off the dribble. We didn’t have any intensity. We were trying to shut them down and didn’t do a good job of that.”

Tech now gets ready for its second game of the season against its in-state rivals, the University of Virginia. The Hokies head to Charlottesville for a Wednesday night game against the Cavaliers, with the tip off slated for 8 p.m. Tech won the first meeting 78-75 at Cassell Coliseum on Jan. 10.

For updates on Virginia Tech men's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MBBall).

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