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Maryland Stops Duke Run

Terrapins win in overtime, 95-87, to end Blue Devils' streak of ACC tournament championships at five.

March 15, 2004|From Associated Press

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The net dangled from the rim by one loop, with Gary Williams the only one left to take a snip.

As the crowd chanted "Gary! Gary! Gary!" the coach climbed the ladder and cut down the net on Maryland's first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title in 20 years.

So many terrific Maryland teams never won the tournament, so leave it to the unlikeliest bunch of Terrapins to end the drought Sunday by beating No. 5-ranked Duke, 95-87, in overtime -- ending the top-seeded Blue Devils' run at five consecutive championships.

It was the first ACC tournament title for the sixth-seeded Terrapins (19-11) since 1984, when the team coached by Lefty Driesell beat Duke. Maryland had been to only one final since then, in 2000 when Duke was in the early stages of its tournament dominance.

"We want the wins, we want to win this championship for Maryland," said Williams, who ranked the victory alongside the Terrapins' 2002 national championship. "This kind of makes up for a lot of things that happened to us in the ACC tournament."

Duke (27-5) went into the tournament looking for its record sixth consecutive title and 15th overall.

Instead, the Blue Devils took their first ACC postseason loss since 1998 -- ending a streak of 17 wins.

The magnitude of ending Duke's streak wasn't lost on Williams.

"I was thinking right after the game, to win five straight ACC tournament championships is incredible," Williams said. "I don't think you'll ever see that again."

The loss didn't cost the Blue Devils a No. 1 seeding in the NCAA tournament, but Coach Mike Krzyzewski wasn't concerned about seedings after the loss. Instead, he focused on what had slipped away after Duke blew a late 12-point lead.

"Our program gives everything it can to this championship," he said. "We were proud to be the champions for the last five years and we would have been proud to be the sixth."

Maryland had tournament most valuable player John Gilchrist to thank for ending Duke's run.

His driving layup with 20 seconds to play in regulation drew the fifth foul on Duke's Shelden Williams -- his main competition for tournament MVP -- and the ensuing free throw tied the score, 77-77, and ensured overtime.

"I've been fortunate to be on winning teams my whole life and that's given me a feeling of what teams need to win from the top guy to the bottom guy," Gilchrist said. "I just know what you have to do to win these kind of games."

Maryland, which led by as many as 11 points in the first half and trailed by 12 with 4 minutes 58 seconds to play in the second, closed out regulation with a 15-3 run to force overtime.

"My hat is off to Gary and his program," Krzyzewski said. "They played like their coach, and as a result, they were all rewarded."

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