COLLEGE PARK - Maryland coach Mark Turgeon was adamant in giving credit to Virginia for coming into Comcast Center and notching a road win Sunday afternoon.
But Turgeon didn't mince words when asked about his team's performance in the Terrapins' 80-69 setback.
Some of it had to do with the Terps' recent travel schedule, Turgeon said. Another aspect could have been a long string of Atlantic Coast Conference games without much of a break, he said. Perhaps the biggest factor, in Turgeon's eyes, was his players' lack of energy from the start.
"I don't want to make excuses," Turgeon said. "But we haven't been a half-step slow all year. Virginia's not the fastest team in the world, but they were beating us to loose balls. It's been a tough stretch, and I told our staff, I looked in their eyes. We know it was a big game. We talked about it. And I look at my players and it was just [blank].
"You look around the country, teams get tired. Maybe we're tired. I want to give Virginia most of the credit, I want everybody to understand that. But we weren't there today."
Many of the 16,895 fans inside Comcast Center left long before the final buzzer sounded, perhaps surrendering before the Terps (17-7, 5-6 ACC) had to officially endure their second home conference loss. Maryland's hallmarks this season have been field-goal percentage defense and rebounding, and Virginia (17-6, 6-3) topped the Terps in both categories.
The Cavaliers shot 54.2 percent from the floor and an eye-opening 57.9 percent (11 for 19) from the 3-point line. Maryland has been among the top teams in the country in field-goal percentage defense (36.2 coming into Sunday's game).
Virginia won the rebound battle 34-29, which marked the first time this season the Terps failed to outrebound an opponent.
The Cavs won their sixth in seven games thanks to four players in double figures, led by junior guard Joe Harris' team-high 22 points. Harris was 7 for 8 from the field and sank three 3-pointers.
Freshman guard Justin Anderson, a former Maryland recruit who drew jeers from some Terps fans during the game, finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Paul Jesperson added 12 points on four 3-pointers while junior forward Akil Mitchell scored 13.
Meanwhile, Maryland had only two players reach double digits. Sophomore guard Dez Wells led the Terrapins with 13 points and freshman guard Seth Allen added 11, but it wasn't enough.
Virginia seemed to be first to everything despite Maryland's attempt to trim a second-half deficit.
Turgeon called it an overall case of lethargy. Allen said he didn't quite feel that way.
"I personally didn't feel tired," said Allen, who added five steals and five assists. "I felt good. We got a little winded quick, but so was Virginia. I didn't think we were that tired."
Senior guard Logan Aronhalt, who scored nine points and connected on a pair of 3-pointers, said this week proves to be beneficial with Duke coming to town Saturday and five days to get ready.
"Coach has already talked about it," Aronhalt said. "We're going to be getting after it. Guys have to be ready to go. If they're not, then I don't know what's wrong."
Anderson led the Cavaliers with 14 points in the first half and Harris added 12 points on 3 of 4 from the 3-point line. Virginia was 5 for 11 from 3-point range while Maryland made just one 3 in seven tries.
Maryland used a 9-3 run to get even at the 3:20 mark of the half, with sophomore guard Nick Faust's driving layup tying the score at 28-28. Virginia responded with a 7-1 spurt to close the half, however, and Anderson (4 for 8 from the field) scored five of those points in that stretch.
The Terrapins only trailed by six at the break, but it felt like much more given Virginia's energy level.
The Duke game Saturday could be the Blue Devils' final ACC visit to Comcast Center with Maryland bound for the Big Ten in two years. Not that history and tradition mean much right now to Turgeon and his players as they fell below .500 in the conference with seven ACC games remaining.
"We were just a half-step slow and a little bit lethargic," Turgeon said, "and you can't be that way against a team that's playing as well as they're playing right now."