One week earlier, Virginia Tech saw a double-figure lead evaporate on the road, and the chance for a much-needed win slip away.
This time, there was no slippage and the
registered as impressive and notable a victory as they've had in quite a while.
"The most fun I've had all year, one of the most fun games I've had since I've been here," senior guard Malcolm Delaney said after the Hokies dusted
74-57 Thursday, the Terps' worst loss in 10 years at the
. "It's just good to see the team clicking like that right now."
Tech (12-5, 3-2
) scored the first 12 points and never looked back, winning for the eighth time in its last nine games.
The Hokies' comprehensive list of accomplishments included the statistical and the intangible. They shot nearly 54 percent from the field. They held the ACC's second-highest scoring team 21 points below its average and nearly 13 percentage points (.357) below its shooting average.
Tech contained the Terps' monster-in-training,
(11 points, 11 rebounds). The Hokies decisively won the rebounding battle (37-30), despite playing a zone defense nearly the entire game that can create lanes for second-chance opportunities and points for opponents.
Though Tech was credited with only 14 assists on its 30 field goals, it seemed like many more, so unselfish and patient were they on offense.
Most importantly, the Hokies didn't flinch when the Terps (11-7, 1-3 ACC) made several runs at them, unlike the week prior when North Carolina overtook them in the second half of a 64-61 loss in Chapel Hill.
"I'm really proud of our guys," Tech coach
said. "I thought we played our best all season. We're getting better. I'm so impressed with our ability to share the basketball, trust each other and compete."
Chief competitor Thursday was sophomore guard Erick Green, rapidly becoming a reliable offensive option. He shattered his career-high with 24 points on 12-for-16 shooting and was decisive and aggressive throughout.
"I just came to play," he said. "I had a good night. Shooting the ball, I saw a big basket. Teammates set me up and I just came through."
Green scored on a variety of shots jumpers, floaters and drives. He helped turn back a couple of Maryland comeback attempts with critical plays.
Cliff Tucker fueled the Terps' final push, scoring 11 points in a 2 1/2-minute span that cut a 15-point deficit to 61-53 with 7:15 remaining.
Green scored on a nifty, up-and-under driving layup prior to Tucker's final 3-pointer of his run. He got out in transition ahead of a Delaney steal and pass for a layup that pushed the lead back to 11 points. Maryland was never closer than nine points afterward.
"He's a great player, he's stepping up," Delaney said of Green. "It's tough with a good backcourt like that. Teams can't just key on me. He's making people respect the rest of our team."
Delaney (19 points) closed the door on the Terps' last run. He handed out three assists and hit a pair of free throws during a span of four possessions in which the Hokies extended the lead to 70-55.
Tech handed Maryland its most one-sided loss of the season and its second home conference loss. The Terps' previous largest loss was a nine-point decision to Pittsburgh in November in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in New York.
"We are just shocked," said Tucker, who led the Terps with 13 points. "I don't know what happened to us tonight. We started slow, but I thought we were going to get ourselves back into it. Unfortunately, we started off slow and played slow the whole game. Defense killed us. We weren't switching off screens and little things like that, and you can't do that in the ACC."
Here's the box score: