COLLEGE PARK - Maryland faced a zone defense for the second time in as many home games, and this time the Terrapins shot over it with a good deal of success.
Virginia Tech didn't muster quite the challenge Tuesday that it gave nationally-ranked Syracuse last week, and the Terps took advantage after a sluggish first half. They reached double-digits in 3-pointers and ran over the Hokies 64-47 at Comcast Center, their second-to-last home game as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The announced 10,517 in attendance watched Maryland (16-14, 8-9 ACC) outscore Virginia Tech 36-18 in the second half, led by 10 3-pointers on 31.3 percent shooting. And unlike last week against the Orange, when Maryland missed 13 of 19 3-point attempts against a zone, the Terps fired at will and did enough to pull away.
"It doesn't matter how you start," said junior Dez Wells, who scored 11 points and had four assists. "It matters how you finish."
The Terps won without much needed from their frontcourt players - including the departure of starter Charles Mitchell late in the first half. The sophomore center didn't come out for the team's warm-up after halftime, and he played only 12 minutes in the first half.
Mitchell (four points, two rebounds, one block) returned to the bench midway through the second half but didn't get back onto the court.
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said the move was disciplinary - word circulated during halftime that Mitchell left Comcast Center altogether after an argument with one of his assistant coaches - and wouldn't elaborate on what happened.
"I'm not going to get into the details," Turgeon said. "It was just something, I had to have some discipline involved. I asked him to go to the locker room."
Maryland drilled four consecutive 3-pointers in a stretch of less than three minutes and stretched its lead to 43-33 with 13:49 to go. Jake Layman hit back-to-back 3s after Nick Faust and Seth Allen each sank one.
Allen missed a 3 on the Terps' next possession, but Faust followed with another trey at the 12:40 mark, and the Terrapins led 46-34.
Layman came off the bench and led the Terrapins with 13 points thanks to four 3-pointers in what was only his second non-start of the season.
"Starting to me doesn't matter, coming off the bench," said Layman, who went 1 for 14 against Clemson on Sunday. "It wasn't a big deal."
Layman added five rebounds, and he shared the team high with Faust. Evan Smotrycz, Allen, and Faust had eight points apiece for the Terps, who forced Virginia Tech (9-20, 2-15) into 17 turnovers.
The Hokies had a 29-24 lead with less than two minutes to go in the first half, but Maryland closed with a brief flurry.
Wells converted a layup and Faust ended the half on a breakaway dunk coming off a Tech turnover.
Maryland opened the second half with an 18-5 run that broke things open, keyed by a Wells three-point play on the Terrapins' first possession.
"Dez made the play of the game," Turgeon said. "Our energy level was different. We had a positive attitude."
Five of Maryland's six 3-pointers in the second half went down during the first seven minutes. Meanwhile, the Hokies made only one field goal in the span and fell behind for good. Joey van Zegeren and Jarell Eddie had 14 points apiece to lead Tech, which has won victory since Dec. 31.
Maryland lost the rebound battle 40-30, one game after grabbing 63 in a double-overtime loss Sunday at Clemson, the Terrapins' fourth defeat in five games.
The Terps set a team record for rebounds in an ACC game, but lost in part because of shooting 9 for 32 from behind the 3-point arc.
Their percentage was just slightly better Tuesday, but Maryland prevailed, with a home finale against rival Virginia remaining before the ACC tournament next week in Greensboro, N.C.
"That was a good night for us," Turgeon said. "We needed it."