St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

It's Tradition vs. Terps

MARYLAND 97, KANSAS 88: The Terps surge ahead in the second half and repel a rally to reach their first final.

By BRIAN LANDMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 31, 2002

ATLANTA -- Maryland's Juan Dixon hadn't forgotten his team's first Final Four appearance last year, and that memory, bitterly disappointing as it was, served him well Saturday against Kansas.

"I think we learned a lot from that game last year," Dixon said, referring to the Terrapins squandering a 22-point first-half lead and losing to eventual champion Duke. "If we got into that position again, we were going to find a way to pull the game out. We did."

Not only did the Terps have to overcome an 11-point first-half deficit, they had to repel a rally to protect what at one point was a 20-point second-half lead before escaping with a 97-88 win at the Georgia Dome. They face Indiana in Monday's championship game in their first trip to the final.

"The thing we have as a team this year is courage," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "This team has never gone away in any tough situation."

Unlike last year, it began tough.

The Jayhawks (33-4) jumped out to a 13-2 lead less than four minutes into the game that matched a pair of top seeds. It was the 11th time two No. 1 seeds met in a semifinal.

With Terps senior center Lonny Baxter, the most outstanding player of the East Region, on the bench with two fouls, Dixon took control in the first half. He scored 19 of his game-high 33 in the half as the Terps (31-4) took a 44-37 lead.

"We were struggling at the time and I just wanted to be aggressive," the senior All-America guard said. "I just took it upon myself to try to hit some big shots."

The Terps opened a nine-point lead in the opening moments of the second half, but Baxter and junior point guard Steve Blake picked up their third fouls in an 18-second span.

With them out, the Jayhawks cut the deficit to 52-50 on a short hook shot by junior forward Nick Collison, who finished with a team-high 21 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Maryland reserves -- junior forward Ryan Randle and junior guard Drew Nicholas -- sparked an 8-2 run for a 60-52 lead, but Kansas senior guard Jeff Boschee answered with a 3-pointer to keep his team close.

Blake hit a 3-pointer, Dixon followed with a jumper in the lane and junior forward Tahj Holden added a three-point play and an off-balance baseline shot for a 70-55 lead. The Terps poured it on, and a 3-pointer by Dixon pushed the lead to 83-63 with 6:10 left.

Game over, right?


"I was about as proud of my team as I've ever been," said Kansas coach Roy Williams, who has been called the best coach never to have won a championship. "They kept believing they could still get it done, and they made a fantastic comeback."

The Jayhawks outscored Maryland 19-4 over the next four minutes and trailed 87-82 when Boschee hit another 3-pointer with 2:05 left. Dixon missed a 3-pointer, but after a turnover he answered with a key baseline jumper.

"The opportunity was there for me to take it to the basket, and I made the shot," he said. "I missed the 3 before that so I definitely wanted to come back and make a play."

"Juan Dixon was sensational," said a tearful Roy Williams, emotional not that his Jayhawks lost but that he won't get a chance to coach the group again.

Boschee followed with his fifth 3-pointer, but Dixon hit two free throws and, after a 3-pointer by junior forward Drew Gooden, added two more free throws to seal the win.

"Juan Dixon, he's been there all year, really the last three years, for us," Gary Williams said. "Big games, big plays, big situations, he's been able to do that."

Lessons he learned well.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

NCAA Tournaments
  • Indiana 73, Oklahoma 64:
  • Maryland 97, Kansas 88:
  • Sooners want respect; Huskies want history
  • Good friends face off in today's final

  • NHL
  • Audette ready to go after frightening skate injury

  • Letters
  • Fans upset with Rays' seat policy

  • Et cetera
  • 2001 champion wins again

  • Boxing
  • Lacy gets challenge, still wins

  • Baseball
  • Around the camps
  • A new season, but not different

  • Tennis
  • Serena completes world sweep
  • Current star faces rising star in Nasdaq final

  • College football
  • Defense, QB praised in USF scrimmage

  • Outdoors
  • Antarctic explorer a hero for all ages
  • Daily fishing report

  • Preps
  • Duo does it for Bulls
  • Terriers' Wood captures long jump title
  • Pitching, defense frustrate Pirates
  • It's time to notice Tornado
  • Cougars better together
  • Four named to all-state first team
  • Duo leads Bloomingdale to title
  • Saldino extra
  • Gryphon deja vu
  • Softball roundup

  • Rays
  • Everything needs to improve this year
  • Rule 5 helps Rays' Rule 1: proficiency
  • Rays tales

    Rays pre-season special
  • Predictions
  • 10 hot dates at the dome
  • What's new -- and not so new -- at and around the ballpark
  • Rays coaches
  • Yet again, the Yankees are too good to be true
  • AL Capsules
  • NL Capsultes
  • Which team holds the best hand?
  • From Little League to Major League
  • Rays still are on schedule to succeed
  • Should we buy into this?
  • Fantasy Outlook
  • Rays Capsules
  • Joe Buck's considerable talent runs in the family
  • Major League Baseball on TV

  • Comella visits as Alstott waits

  • Lightning
  • Not enough offense to bother Ottawa
  • Ylonen takes Ottawa trade in stride

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts