NCAA

WATCH: Anthony Cowan Jr. put the team on his back in win over Michigan State

WATCH: Anthony Cowan Jr. put the team on his back in win over Michigan State

Terps star Anthony Cowan Jr. took over during crunch time in No. 9 Maryland's huge win Saturday on the road against Michigan State.

Cowan got going in the game's final minutes, scoring 11 of his 24 total points late in the second half.



Maryland had just climbed back to lead by two with just over a minute to go. The Spartans allowed the Terps to play it out with Cowan having the hot hand. Late in the shot clock, he drilled a straightaway three to essentially ice the game. The lead was pushed to five and put Maryland in firm control.

Cowan's dagger three took the life out of the building and helped put Mark Turgeon's squad in the win column.

Cowan scorched the Spartans late, scoring a nine crucial points in just 80 seconds.

The Terps have now won eight-straight games and sit atop the Big Ten with a one-game lead over No. 13 Penn State.

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On this day 36 years ago, Patrick Ewing, Georgetown top Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston for only national championship in program history

On this day 36 years ago, Patrick Ewing, Georgetown top Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston for only national championship in program history

Patrick Ewing looked on helplessly as his eighth-seeded Georgetown Hoyas melted down in the second half of their Big East tournament game against No. 9 St. John’s on March 11, losing in the first round after blowing a double-digit lead.

The loss effectively ended the Hoyas’ season with a 15-17 record, marking what would’ve been the fifth straight year Georgetown missed out on the NCAA Tournament field -- had the rest of the season not been canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

It was a far cry from the performances of Ewing’s playing days, when Georgetown was a national powerhouse. And exactly 36 years ago from Thursday, that dominance peaked with the first and only national championship in Georgetown history.

Long before Ewing starred for the New York Knicks during a Hall of Fame NBA career, one in which he averaged 21.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 17 seasons, the 7-foot center stepped onto Georgetown's campus in 1981 as the crown jewel of what some considered to be the best recruiting class that year.

Prior to his arrival, the Hoyas were just turning the corner as a program. Legendary coach John Thompson guided the team to five NCAA Tournament appearances in the previous seven seasons after it had made just one appearance all-time -- losing in the 1943 national championship. 

But once Ewing stepped on campus, the Hoyas transformed into perennial national championship contenders.

Georgetown reached the title game in three of Ewing's four years at the school, including his freshman season when they lost to a North Carolina team led by Michael Jordan and James Worthy. But two years later, on April 2, 1984, Georgetown defeated Houston 84-75 to finally clinch its first and only national championship in program history.

Houston, led by the great Hakeem Olajuwon and leading scorer Michael Young, was a formidable foe, having made the Final Four the previous two seasons and losing in the national championship in 1983. The Cougars’ Alvin Franklin scored a game-high 21 points, but they didn’t have the depth to keep up with a Georgetown team that got contributions from all over.

Five players scored in double-digits for the Hoyas, including a team-high 19 points off the bench from freshman Reggie Williams. Michael Graham, who was named to the 1984 All-Tournament team along with Ewing, Olajuwon, Franklin and Young, added 14 off the bench. David Wingate had 16 and Michael Jackson scored 11 points with 6 assists for the Hoyas.

Ewing, who had 10 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks, came out victorious against Olajuwon in the battle of giants and was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Olajuwon finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Ewing's final stat line that season: 16.4 points, 66% FG, 10.0 rebounds, 3.2 blocks, and he was a first-team All-American playing for a Georgetown team that finished the season 34-3.

The following year, Georgetown made it back to the championship but was upset by an eighth-seeded Villanova. Ewing was selected first overall in the NBA draft that summer, but the Hoyas still enjoyed prominence as one of college basketball’s darling programs for several years after his departure.

Today, much of that luster has faded, which is why Ewing mans the sideline as coach now in hopes of guiding the Hoyas to the promised land again. But on this day 36 years ago, it was more than a dream. They Hoyas were the NCAA Div. I men's basketball national champions.

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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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