Diggs, Hills lead Terps past UVa

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Diggs, Hills lead Terps past UVa

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Stefon Diggs returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and fellow freshman Perry Hills threw for one TD and ran for another as Maryland defeated Virginia 27-20 in Atlantic Coast Conference action on Saturday, extending the Cavaliers' losing streak to five.

The kickoff return started a disastrous first quarter that put Virginia (2-5, 0-3) in a 17-point hole it could never climb out of, despite moving the ball well at times and rallying behind backup quarterback Michael Rocco.

Rocco came on in relief of a struggling Phillip Sims in the fourth quarter with the Cavaliers down 27-13 and promptly directed a 10-play, 81-yard drive. His 24-yard touchdown pass to Jake McGee pulled Virginia within 27-20 with 4:10 left.

But that was all the magic Rocco could muster. After a three-and-out by Maryland, the Cavaliers got the ball back at the Terrapins' 49 with 1:51 left but four Rocco passes fell incomplete.

The Cavaliers, down 7-0, had their first possession ended when Anthony Nixon intercepted a Sims pass and returned it to the Virginia 32. Five plays later, Hills connected on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Justus Pickett to put Maryland ahead 14-0 less than five minutes into the game.

Virginia pinned the Terrapins at their own 2, but a 27-yard pass from Hills to Kevin Dorsey got Maryland out of trouble. On the next play, Diggs caught a pass and appeared to be hemmed in, but he reversed his field and wove his way down the right side for 60 yards. After two running plays lost yardage, the Terrapins settled for Brad Craddock's 33-yard field goal to make it 17-0 with 4:59 left in the quarter.

Maryland's big pass plays negated a stellar effort by Virginia's run defense. The Terrapins had zero yards rushing in the first half.

Sims, the Alabama transfer making his second start for the Cavaliers, had a rough outing. He had at least three passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, and he lost a fumble on a sack at the Virginia 15 in the fourth quarter as the Cavaliers were trying to come back from an 11-point deficit.

The Cavaliers continued to struggle converting points when they got the chance. After kicker Drew Jarrett's line-drive field goal attempt was blocked, he was replaced by Ian Frye who was good from 20 yards on his first career try to cut Maryland's lead to 17-3 at the half.

Virginia dodged a bullet in the third quarter when Maryland's Matt Furstenburg dropped a sure touchdown pass, and Craddock's field goal attempt clanked off the left upright.

After the teams traded three-and-outs, Virginia cut the margin to 17-10 on Sims' 20-yard touchdown pass to a well-covered E.J. Scott, who caught the ball falling down in the back corner of the end zone.

On the next play, Virginia's Will Hill recovered a Hills fumble at the Virginia 31. The Cavaliers reached the Maryland 3, but Sims' third-down lob to tight end Jake McGee was incomplete and Virginia settled for Frye's 22-yard field goal.

A personal foul penalty against Virginia after the field goal forced the Cavaliers to kick off from their 20, and Diggs' return put the Terrapins in business at the Virginia 47. A 22-yard pass from Hills to Furstenburg set up Hills' 6-yard touchdown run to make it 24-13.

Maryland added a 28-yard Craddock field goal after the Sims fumble.

Career-best night from Marial Shayok leads No. 16 Virginia past Georgia Tech

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Career-best night from Marial Shayok leads No. 16 Virginia past Georgia Tech

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Marial Shayok is emerging as the scorer Virginia so badly needs, and making his elevation to the starting lineup look brilliant.

Shayok had a career-best 19 points, the third time in four games he has set or tied his career high, and No. 16 Virginia used a 22-7 run spanning halftime to beat Georgia Tech 62-49 on Saturday.

"Today the guys were finding me and I was just catching and shooting and the ball was going in," Shayok said.

In his first start four games ago, he scored 17 points. He matched it the next game, and then set a new high on 6-for-9 shooting against the Yellow Jackets.

"He's wired to score," coach Tony Bennett said. "He can play off the bounce."

London Perrantes added 11 points, all in the first 7 minutes, for the Cavaliers (15-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), Devon Hall had 10 and Jack Salt had five points, six rebounds, a steal, a block and played harassing defense on Georgia Tech scoring leader Ben Lammers.

"There were a few story lines but I don't think there were any bigger than how Jack impacted the game," Bennett said after Lammers was 3 for 12 and scored seven points, less than half his 14.9 average. "Jack was just there. He was a presence."

The victory was the fourth straight for Virginia.

Josh Okogie led the Yellow Jackets (11-8, 3-4) with 14 points, all but one in the first half, and fellow freshman Justin Moore had 10.

The Yellow Jackets pulled within 29-28 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half, but Virginia scored the last six points of the half and started the second half with a 16-7 run to lead 51-35 with under 10 minutes to play.

"We've been pretty good at answering runs, but we didn't answer that one," first-year coach Josh Pastner said

Six DMV teams featured in Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology

Six DMV teams featured in Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology

BY TYLER BYRUM

Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Maryland are no brainers that if they keep up the pace that each team is on, they will be dancing in the NCAA tournament come March. In Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology (released on Jan. 19), he has also included three other DMV teams, two hailing from the Atlantic 10, Richmond and VCU, and Morgan State

All six are contenders for their respective conference championship, but according to Lunardi, only Richmond and Morgan State from the list of six would need to win the automatic berth to make the big dance. Every team has a different reason to be in the tournament and it is looking more likely than not that at least five of these teams will be able to maintain their standing. 

If all six can make it another month an a half, it will surpass last season's four teams (Maryland, VCU, Virginia, and Hampton) to make the tournament.

Virginia (#4 seed, ACC):

The Cavaliers (14-3, 4-2) not only have the benefit of being in the best conference in college basketball, but also have made quite a name for themselves the past handful of seasons. With no losses to sub-50 RPI teams, No. 16 Virginia is a near lock to be in the NCAA tournament, barring a huge end of season collapse. In the ACC, they sit at fourth in the conference standings, where it is anticipated that a total of 11 teams in that conference will be in the tournament.

Maryland (#7 seed, Big Ten): 

Quietly the No. 25 Terrapins are becoming one of the best team's in the country after there was some skepticism to start the season. Maryland (16-2, 4-1) has taken advantage of their moderate schedule and has seven top-100 RPI wins, but so far lack the signature win that solidly puts the team in the tournament. Next week the team will get into the heat of conference play where for the remainder of the season will have home and aways against Minnesota, Ohio State, and road games in Wisconsin and Northwestern. A key for the Terps going forward will to continue to win the games they are supposed to win and hopefully squeak one out against the aforementioned teams. 

Virginia Tech (#10 seed, ACC):

Another benefactor of the dominant ACC, Virginia Tech appears to be on track for their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007 when they lost in the second round. Winning all the games the Hokies (14-4, 3-3) were supposed to win in the first half of the season, and then pulling out a shocker at home against then No. 5 Duke, Virginia Tech is looking solid at this point in the season. The team still has a loaded ACC schedule to get through, including two games against Virginia and a road trip to Chapel Hill, but if the team can finish at or above .500 in conference play they should remain in. Enough has been done early on to prove the team's worth. 

Richmond (#14 seed, Atlantic 10):

The Spiders (11-6, 5-0) do not have a strong at-large resume. Earlier in the year the team had a terrible loss to Oral Roberts, currently at 228 in the national RPI, and did not get a big win to combat the loss. In fact the program's best out-of-conference win this season was over Boston College, which stands at a 165 RPI. Since though, the team has gotten hot in Atlantic 10 play winning five straight and four of those wins being their best on the season. The team does not necessarily have to win the conference championship to make the tournament, but need to continue their stretch in conference and get a couple wins against the top teams, Dayton, Rhode Island, and VCU. 

VCU (#11 seed, Atlantic 10):

Listed as on of the 'last four in,' VCU (14-5, 4-2) took a big hit in their NCAA aspirations after a devastating buzzer-beater loss to Fordham on Wednesday. Their best win is at home against Middle Tennessee, but fell short against Baylor, Illinois, and Georgia Tech to gather another strong victory. Last week the team was looking like a near lock to the big dance, but back-to-back sub-100 RPI losses has the team's outlook for the rest of the season uncertain. If the Rams can avoid anymore upsets, they should remain on the good side of the bubble at the end of the year.

Morgan State (#16 seed, MEAC):

There is no possible way for the Bears (7-10, 4-0) to make it without winning the MEAC championship and even that will be a tall task for this team. From their undefeated conference record, none of the wins came against one of the conference's top five programs. It does not appear likely they will still be on this list a week from now, but a team to keep an eye one once the conference tournament comes around for an automatic berth.

Other possible tournament teams:

From an at-large bid perspective, no other team's in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington D.C. are within striking range. With the strength of their respective conferences, George Washington, Georgetown, and George Mason have outside shots if they were to run the table, or come close to it, and get in the bubble conversation. For all teams though, that seems highly unlikely.

Two other schools have the best chance of making the list seven or eight teams with UMBC and Old Dominion possibly winning their conference championship, the America East, and Conference USA respectively.

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