COLLEGE PARK -- If Maryland and Georgetown were going to make these two fan bases wait this long, they were almost obligated by the universe to deliver something worthy of the years in between.
Maryland, trailing by seven points with under six minutes to go, mounted a measured, methodical comeback that got back to basics. They hit their free throws. They hit key shots in key spots and they survived, 75-71.
Head coach Mark Turgeon was asked after the game if, given the way that this game progressed, if it’s almost necessary for these teams to play every year from this point forward. How could they not?
“You’re not the coach,” Turgeon responded to a round of laughter. “Do you realize what I went through today? Nine o’clock start, we had to win, home game, wasn’t a fun day for me but it’s great now.
“What a great college basketball game. Guys played at a high level, great players, and great atmosphere so we’re going to enjoy tonight.”
It seemed difficult to think before the game that Tuesday's matchup could top the 1993 matchup between these two teams when a last-second Duane Simpkins layup stunned the Hoyas. Rasheed Sulaimon’s massive three-pointer with 1:18 to go may not have been as late as Simpkins’ heroics but they were equally as important to this game.
After Maryland’s offense had stagnated in the second half, that three broke through and finally gave the Terrapins a lead that felt comfortable -- comfortable in an absolutely relative sense because three points is still a one possession game, but it equaled the largest lead the Terrapins had held up to that point in the game.
But they were able to pull it together.
“There’s a lot of emotion in there, a lot of adrenaline pumping and we got a little outside of ourselves,” Sulaimon said. “Once we got in a groove a little bit, we took off.”
For Georgetown, it’s a crushing loss. Fresh off their last-second defeat at the hands of mid-major Radford, the Hoyas are now 0-2 with Wisconsin up next. They then play either Duke or Virginia Commonwealth.
A tough night for Turgeon? Sure. But he’s glad to be on this side of the box score.
"I don't think you could have wrote a better script," Turgeon said. "Now, Georgetown would like to change the outcome, I'm sure, but just the way the game was played at a high level, great atmosphere, went down to the wire. It's just terrific."