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Cavs, Terps: Ships passing in the night page 2
Steve DeShazo's column on Virginia vs Maryland

Date published: 2/7/2007

By Steve DeShazo

continued

and Strawberry threw away a blind pass--two mistakes by seniors who should

know better. At that point, Williams turned to little-used sophomore Dave Neal in a clear act of desperation.

It paid off in the short term, as Neal sank a 3-pointer instantly. But Virginia's Adrian Joseph countered with a 3 of his own moments later, and the Cavaliers held on.

Virginia deserves as much credit as Maryland gets blame for posting only its second regular-season sweep of the Terps since 1992-93. The Cavaliers are noticeably tougher and more resilient under second-year head coach Dave Leitao.

And they've already beaten the Terps for a key recruit: highly regarded shooting guard Jeff Jones, who orally committed to Maryland before changing his mind and signing with the Cavaliers in November.

Aside from a ragged second half, they kept their poise in a hostile environment. They've now won three straight ACC road games--something they never did in seven seasons under former coach Pete Gillen.

With eight ACC victories (one more than they notched all of last season), the Cavaliers are all alone atop the conference standings--at least for 24 hours. They're also within sniffing distance of their first NCAA tournament berth in six years.

That's an eternity for a BCS conference team. Maryland is in danger of seeing its drought reach half that span, and is sliding toward irrelevance.

As the Cavaliers can tell them, that's a tough hole to escape.

Steve DeShazo: 540/374-
Email: 5443sdeshazo@freelancestar.com


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