Sean Mosley, Glen Rice Jr.

Glen Rice Jr. of Georgie Tech guards Maryland's Sean G. Mosley in the first half. (Perna, Algerina, Baltimore Sun / January 15, 2012)

Maryland fans did not need to step outside to feel the chill.

For much of Sunday's game, the shooting percentages of Maryland and Georgia Tech hovered in the 20s -- lower than the temperature outside Comcast Center.

But that was fine with the Terps, whose defense and foul shooting allowed them to overcome a sub-freezing shooting spell in a 61-50 victory over Georgia Tech -- Maryland's ninth victory in its last 10 games.

Maryland won largely because of senior Sean Mosley, who scored 18 points -- including the last seven of the game -- and played airtight defense on leading Georgia Tech scorer Glen Rice Jr.

Both teams' shooting percentages thawed as the game wore on, but a key for Maryland was that Rice -- son of the former NBA star -- was never allowed to become his hot-shooting self.

Rice entered the game having scored 28 points in a loss to Duke and 22 in a win over North Carolina State. But the 6-foot-5 swingman -- guarded mostly by Mosley -- accumulated just six points on 2-for-8 shooting from the floor.

"Sean was great," said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, who spent much of the preseason trying to elevate Mosley's confidence by emphasizing his leadership role as the team's only fourth-year player.

Mosley had help guarding Rice from Mychal Parker and Nick Faust. "We tried to keep fresh bodies on him," Turgeon said. "He never got into a rhythm. We played smart defensively on him."

Maryland (12-4, 2-1 ACC) hadn't held a team to below 60 points this season. The Terps entered the game 7-1 when holding opponents to 69 points or fewer.

The Yellow Jackets had just 19 first-half points on 7-for-29 (24.1 percent) from the floor. Until Sunday, Maryland hadn't held an ACC opponent under 20 first-half points since doing it to N.C. State in 1997. The Terps shot 25.9 in the first half and had nine turnovers. Maryland shot 40.7 percent in the second half.

It was an important game for the Terps because it was clearly winnable. Georgia Tech (8-9, 1-2 ACC) had lost four games in a row before beating North Carolina State last week.

The schedule now turns sharply more difficult for Maryland, with games on the road at Florida State and Temple and home against Duke.

"I know how important it is to get these wins at home in the ACC," Mosley said after Sunday's game.

Mosley scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half. He shot 10-for-10 from the foul line -- an important achievement for a team that entered the game ranked 11th in the conference in free-throw shooting.

Maryland forward James Padgett had 14 points and nine rebounds.

Maryland led by five at the half. Aided by a pair of baskets by Faust (eight points, three steals), the Terps expanded their margin to 12.

The Yellow Jackets closed to within 54-50 on a drive and foul shot by Brandon Reed with 3:08 remaining.

But Mosley hit a 3-pointer with 2:36 left, then followed with four foul shots to account for the final margin.

Mosley is not as much of a scorer as some fans might like. But his all-around game is almost always a factor for the Terps.

"I thought Mosley was the toughest kid on the court," said Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory, echoing comments made earlier in the season by Notre Dame coach Mike Brey. "He flat out won them the game."

Mosley's play was especially important because leading scorer Terrell Stoglin, who played with a minor back injury sustained in practice, was held to 14 points on 4-of-12 from the floor.

Mosley said he has taken his leadership role to heart. He was a complementary player early in his career but noticed how veteran players such as Greivis Vasquez, Landon Milbourne and Eric Hayes comported themselves in practice.

"Greivis, Landon and Eric Hayes all talked the entire practice and I learned from them," Mosley said. "It has carried over."

jeff.barker@baltsun.com