They waited through a three-hour delay for the start of the game because of a broken water main and then endured two overtimes, a raucous crowd at Cassell Coliseum and a Virginia Tech team that hadn't lost at home all season.
In the end, the Maryland Terrapins survived, and celebrated with a thrilling 104-100 victory. It was Maryland's first win here since the Hokies joined the Atlantic Coast Conference and continued what is now a five-game winning streak going into Wednesday's showdown with Duke at Comcast Center.
Senior guard Greivis Vasquez led Maryland (21-7, 11-3 ACC) with a career-high 41 points -- the most by a Terp since Joe Smith scored 40 at Duke in 1995 -- to move ahead of Albert King for third place (2,059 points) on the school's all-time scoring list. But if Vasquez carried the Terps on his shoulders -- which didn't shimmy once -- two other Maryland guards secured the win.
Sophomore Sean Mosley (St. Frances) scored six points in the second overtime, including four from the free throw line, to finish with 17 points, and senior Eric Hayes also had four free throws in the second overtime.
Malcolm Delaney (Towson Catholic) led Virginia Tech (21-7, 8-6) with 27 points, but missed a pair of critical free throws with 39.5 seconds to go in the second overtime.
The win -- the first in double overtime in five years -- clinched at least second place in the ACC for the Terps, who can tie the Blue Devils for first with a win in College Park. It also earned Maryland a first-round bye in the ACC tournament.
"It's a huge win for us, great place to play, great fans, great coach, great players," said Vasquez, who dedicated the win to a former high school teammate at Montrose Christian who passed away Saturday. "To me this is one of the best wins ever."
It came at the end of one of the strangest days Gary Williams has had as a coach.
Asked about the circumstances leading up to the start of the game, when the teams were forced to sit around after a van carrying beer to a party in an adjacent building backed up into a fire hydrant and busted the first of three water mains to start gushing, Williams smiled.
"This is a chapter, when it's all over," he said. "Unless you have seniors you can't do that, because you can't handle that if you have a lot of freshmen and sophomores running around."
Especially one senior in particular. Vasquez, making another statement for ACC Player of the Year in a head-to-head matchup with Delaney, scored more points than he had in a game on any level. While he didn't hit a high percentage of shots (13-for-33 after a 2-for-10 first half), he hit some big ones.
"You never want to take away anyone's aggressiveness," Williams said. "That is true in any sport and it is especially true with Greivis because he will make the big shot if you need a big shot. That's the sign of a great player."
Said Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg: "He's a good player. He's a handful every night."
The Terps had a chance to win it in regulation, but after Hayes looked as if he had made a 3-point shot for a three-point Maryland lead, Delaney scored easily with less than a second left. Hayes' shot was ruled a two-point basket and the game went into overtime.
A pair of free throws by Hayes with 41 seconds left in the first overtime tied the game at 89, and both Delaney and Vasquez missed potential game-winners. The Terps finally were able to pull away in the second overtime, securing the win on Mosley's last two free throws.
"It's tough to win on the road. We had a little setback with the time of the game, but we just stayed focused and came out playing harder in the second half," Mosley said.
Hayes 3-8 5-6 12, Mosley 6-8 4-4 17, Vasquez 13-33 10-10 41, Milbourne 4-7 0-0 8, Williams 4-13 1-5 9, Bowie 2-2 0-0 4, Tucker 2-5 0-0 5, Gregory 2-6 2-2 6, Padgett 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 37-83 22-27 104.
VIRGINIA TECH (21-7)
Hudson 8-16 5-5 21, Delaney 9-17 8-10 27, Allen 10-23 5-11 25, Bell 4-8 0-0 10, Davila 1-4 0-0 2, Green 0-3 0-0 0, Witcher 0-0 0-0 0, Boggs 0-2 0-0 0, Thompson 5-8 4-5 15. Totals 37-81 22-31 100.
Halftime_Virginia Tech 37-31. End Of Regulation_Tied 82. End Of 1st Overtime_Tied 89. 3-Point Goals_Maryland 8-22 (Vasquez 5-15, Mosley 1-1, Tucker 1-2, Hayes 1-3, Milbourne 0-1), Virginia Tech 4-13 (Bell 2-3, Thompson 1-1, Delaney 1-4, Boggs 0-1, Green 0-1, Allen 0-1, Hudson 0-2). Fouled Out_Bell, Milbourne. Rebounds_Maryland 43 (Williams 15), VirginiaTech 52 (Allen 15). Assists_Maryland 23 (Hayes 10), Virginia Tech 13 (Delaney 5). Total Fouls_Maryland 24, Virginia Tech 22. A_9,847.