Maryland Terps

Montana rolls past Eastern Washington 81-66

Montana rolls past Eastern Washington 81-66

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Jordan Gregory hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 points Thursday night, helping Montana stay unbeaten in Big Sky Conference play with an 81-66 victory over Eastern Washington.

Gregory was 6 of 7 from the field, including 4 of 5 from behind the arc. Spencer Coleman added 15 points off the bench for the Grizzlies (7-4, 3-0), and Mathias Ward scored 12.

Montana's Will Cherry was 0 of 7 from the field but scored eight points on free throws, leaving him two points away from moving into 12th place on the school's career scoring list.

Venky Jois scored 16 points to lead the Eagles (3-10, 1-2), and Collin Chiverton and Thomas Reuter had 15 and 14, respectively, off the bench. Eastern Washington shot a respectable 46 percent from the field but was just 4 of 16 on 3-pointers, while Montana went 9 of 21 from long range.

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NCAA tournament history: Terrapins beat Indiana to win 2002 national championship

NCAA tournament history: Terrapins beat Indiana to win 2002 national championship

The long journey finally ended for Maryland's men's basketball program on April 1, 2002. 

A school that played third fiddle in its own conference to North Carolina and Duke for the better part of 50 years finally won its first NCAA title. It wasn't the prettiest game, a sloppy 64-52 Terrapins win over Indiana at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

They briefly fell behind for the first time with 9:52 to go. But Gary Williams' team wasn't going to be denied. Not this time. 

Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter, Steve Blake, Chris Wilcox, Byron Mouton, Tahj Holden, Drew Nicholas and crew - not a McDonald's All-American among them - pulled away in the final minutes and Dixon appropriately took the final inbounds pass as the buzzer sounded. One year after blowing a 22-point first-half lead to Duke in a Final Four game, Maryland was crowned champion for the first time. 

"And the kids have done it!" Terrapins play-by-play voice Johnny Holliday famously exclaimed after the final buzzer sounded. 

Williams led his alma mater to the championship. It was a day he didn't believe would happen when the program was hit with three years probation for recruiting and other rules violations during the era of his predecessor Bob Wade. Maryland was banned from the NCAA Tournament for two years. The Terrapins were banned from television completely for the 1990-91 season. Williams wasn't sure he'd be able to rebuild from the rubble. 

But star guard Walt Williams decided to stay with the program. He could have left to play anywhere in the country. Instead, he spent his final two college seasons knowing he wouldn't play in the tournament. That kept the Terrapins competitive during the sanctions period. 

Gary Williams and his staff recruited well. A class led by local players Johnny Rhodes, Excree Hipp and Duane Simpkins got things started in 1992. The addition of Joe Smith and Keith Booth the next year led to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances. Suddenly, a program that had been left for dead was in the national conversation again. 

But that Final Four berth was elusive. Hall of Fame coach Lefty Driesell had never made it there despite vowing to build "the UCLA of the East" when he arrived at College Park in 1969. Driesell built a powerhouse. But it was never quite good enough. The 1971-72 Terrapins went 27-5, tied for second in the ACC. But only one team went to the NCAA Tournament each year in those days. And Maryland lost one of the greatest games in college basketball history to North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament championship game. They might have been the third-best team in the nation, but were relegated to the NIT, which they won. 

The legacy of those years hung around Maryland, which went to the Elite Eight in 1973 and 1975 and was a Sweet 16 team in 1980, 1984 and 1985. Driesell had top recruiting classes and consistent winning seasons. But when Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose just days after the 1986 NBA Draft, the Maryland program fell apart. Driesell was forced out that October. Wade lasted just three years. 

Williams had to deal with all of that. Duke and North Carolina continued to compete for championships. But Williams stuck with it. After consecutive first round NCAA losses in 1996 and 1997, he was back in the Sweet 16 in 1998 and then 1999, 
when Maryland won a school-record 28 games with junior guard Steve Francis. Dixon was already there. He was a redshirt freshman in 1997-98. He was on the floor during a blowout loss to St. John's in 1999 and again against UCLA in 2000 and once more when the Terrapins lost to Duke in that devastating semifinal game in 2001. It seemed like it would never happen for the program.

But Maryland came right back the next season with a 15-1 record in the ACC and a No. 1 seed in the East Region. After winning a pair of games in Washington against Siena and Wisconsin in the first two rounds and outlasting Kentucky and Connecticut at regionals, the Terrapins made it back to the Final Four. They beat Kansas in what some saw as the true national championship game, falling behind 13-2 before calming down en route to a 97-88 win, and then were in control for much of the final against the Hoosiers. 

In the end, a Dixon 3-pointer gave Maryland the lead right back against Indiana after it fell behind 44-42. The Terrapins never trailed again. The win set off a wild celebration in Atlanta and back home in College Park, where fans had waited so long for their shining moment.   
 

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Zion Williamson, Pelicans snap Wizards 2K sim winning streak

Zion Williamson, Pelicans snap Wizards 2K sim winning streak

Entering Wednesday night, the 2K Wizards were riding a four-game winning streak. They had beat the Celtics, Suns, Bucks and Lakers over the course of two weeks and looked like they might not lose again. 

But as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. At the hands of Zion Williamson and the Pelicans, the virtual Wizards lost 65-57. 

Here's how the game went down and slipped through the Wizards' fingers. 

Terrible shooting

Multiple brick houses were built during the making of this sim. 

The Wizards and Pelicans couldn't buy a jumper all game, especially from beyond the three-point line. The two squads combined to shoot 2-for-31 from three, a scorching 6.5%. 

To put this in a real-life context, this would have nearly broken an NBA record for combined three-point percentage with a minimum of 30 attempts. The current NBA record is reluctantly held by the Celtics and Nets on a night in 2003 where the two teams shot a combined 2-for-32 from three. 

Bradley Beal went 0-7 from three, Brandon Ingram missed all six of his attempts and JJ Redick didn't make a triple either. Just a weird night from three-point for two teams who were both top-five in three-point percentage before the 2019-20 season was suspended. 

Zion dunks his way to a win

The thing about having Williamson on your team is that, in games like this where nobody can hit a jumper, the Pelicans' best player didn't have to make much of an adjustment. 

Williamson does most of his damage in the paint, whether he's putting his armpits in the rim on a duck, bullying defenders down low and finishing layups through them or wreaking havoc on the offensive glass. 

So in a game where the only real source of offense came in the paint, Zion was right at home. He finished with 26 points, six rebounds and three blocks, shot 13-for-17 from the floor and tallied seven dunks in the game. 

The Wizards will get a chance at revenge before the season is out, but the No. 1 overall pick got the best of them this time. 

Parting thoughts

Beal got his shot blocked three times in this game alone, continuing an interesting trend we've seen through a few of these simulations. Beal had his shot blocked 52 times during the regular season, which puts him at 44th most in the league. The 2K sims have been fairly accurate to this point, but it appears Beal is getting his shot sent back a bit too much. 

Rui Hachimura had another good game in the 2K sim and continues to prove how valuable his skill and mobility at his size can be in such a setting. The rookie forward finished with 15 points in 22 minutes and went 6-for-9 from the floor. 

Davis Bertans didn't attempt a three in 13 minutes of playing time. During the regular season, Bertans averaged one three-point attempt every three minutes, so it was definitely bizarre to see him on the floor and not launch a single shot from deep. 

Beal may have had a rough game statistically, scoring 20 points on 9-of-25 shooting, but he at least produced a few highlight dunks including one on Williamson. 

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