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Terp Madness

UMD’s Most Memorable Basketball Games

By Liam Farrell

BB Collage

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for college basketball fans, as the high-flying dunks and buzzer beaters of the NCAA Tournament begin today. When Melo Trimble nailed that game-winning three with time running out against Michigan State recently, Terp magazine got to thinking about some of the other fantastic moments in UMD basketball history. Check out our picks below, and chime in with your own favorites in the comments. And don’t forget to cheer on the men’s team on Thursday, when the Terps take on Xavier, and the women’s team on Friday, when they take on Bucknell.


10. Breaking the Barrier—Maryland lost the first game of the 1965 season to Penn State, 65–61, but the Terps won beyond the scoreboard that night. That’s because Billy Jones became the first African-American to play for a team in the Atlantic Coast Conference when he took the floor against the Nittany Lions. Three days later, Jones scored his first basket in a home win over Wake Forest.


9. Setting the Stage—The men didn’t win it all in the 2001 NCAA Tournament, but they built the foundation for later success. The Terps made it to the Final Four for the first time by defeating Stanford, 87–73, on March 24, 2001.


8. A Legend Is Born—On Feb. 20, 1986, Len Bias became a legend by scoring 35 points en route to a landmark upset of top-ranked North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Rallying the team from a nine-point deficit, Bias made the iconic play of his career: a long jumper followed by a lightening quick steal and rattling backwards jam.


7. A Clash for the Ages—Sometimes called the greatest college basketball game ever played, the Terps weren’t victorious in the 1974 ACC championship matchup against N.C. State, but they showed the heart of champions. Both teams got standing ovations after the Wolfpack won in overtime, 103–100, and eight of the 14 players who saw action—including Len Elmore and Tom McMillen—were NBA draft picks.


6. A Win for History—No titles were at stake on March 3, 2002, but the final game in Cole Field House was one for all the great memories coaches, players and fans had made in the building. The Terps beat Virginia that night, 112–92.


5. Three in a Row—A change in conference hasn’t slowed the women’s team down one bit. On March 5, the Terps handled Purdue in a 74–64 win that secured their third consecutive Big Ten tournament championship.

Women Final4

4. Women Head to Second-Straight Final Four—The Terps were far more than a flash in the pan after winning the championship in 2006. After making the Final Four in 2014, the Terps followed it up with another elite year, defeating blue-blood program Tennessee, 58–48, on March 30, 2015, to earn a second straight bid.


3. Men Down Duke—In what turned out to be the last ACC title bout between Maryland and its hated rival, the Terps walked away victors, defeating the Blue Devils, 95–87, in overtime on March 14, 2004.


2. Women Take the Title— Following Kristi Tolliver’s game-tying three-pointer, Coach Brenda Frese’s Terps made a statement in taking down Duke, 78–75, in overtime, on April 4, 2006, for the national title. Maryland is one of only six programs since 2000 that have won the women’s basketball championship.


1. Terps Win Their First—It’s tempting to be contrarian in picking the best of anything, but the goal every year in college basketball is to be the team raising the hardware at the end. The Terps, led by Coach Gary Williams and Juan Dixon, did just that when they topped Indiana, 64–52, on April 1, 2002.

Courtesy of University Archives and Maryland Athletics

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