COLLEGE BASKETBALL : Maryland Stuns Georgetown, 84-83, in OT
Forget about seeing a sequel at Maryland’s Cole Field House next season. Forget all the hype that preceded Friday’s Maryland-Georgetown game at USAir Arena, or the hoopla that will follow it. And forget John Thompson agreeing to anything like this again.
A rivalry that was renewed after 13 years is, in all likelihood, over.
It ended when Maryland sophomore point guard Duane Simpkins’ layup over Georgetown forward Don Reid with three seconds remaining in overtime gave the Terrapins an emotional 84-83, season-opening upset victory over the 15th-ranked Hoyas.
“It shows our program what we can be,” Maryland Coach Gary Williams said after the emotional victory over the heavily favored Hoyas. “For too long at Maryland, we haven’t known what we could be.”
Said Thompson, who lost a season home opener for the first time in his 23 years at Georgetown, “I thought we had ample opportunity to win. We got behind, we came back in there with another opportunity to win and they took it at the very end.”
In giving Williams one of the most significant wins in his 16-year coaching career -- and only the second against Thompson in 14 games -- Maryland overcame a 14-point deficit with more than 12 minutes left in regulation and foul trouble on five of its top seven players to continue a wacky string of early-season college basketball upsets.
“They made a very good shot to tie it in regulation and then they hit that three-point shot in overtime,” said Williams. “What was going through my mind? I was thinking about when we were going to get a break.”
After George Butler’s three-pointer tied the game at 76 with six seconds left in regulation, after Joey Brown banked in a three-pointer as the 35-second shot clock expired to give Georgetown an 83-80 lead with 1:06 remaining in overtime, Maryland got the breaks it needed.
Freshman forward Keith Booth was fouled and made a pair of free throws with 38 seconds left to cut Georgetown’s lead to one.
Then reserve forward Kurtis Shultz, in a defensive switch to protect Booth from fouling out, stole a pass in front of the Hoyas’ bench with 18.2 seconds left.
And, finally, came the layup by Simpkins.
After almost losing the ball to Brown near halfcourt, Simpkins saw Georgetown’s point guard out of position and drove to the basket. His high-arcing, left-handed shot over the outstretched hand of the 6-foot-8, 250-pound Reid settled softly in the net.
“When I got past Joey Brown, everyone backed off,” said Simpkins, who had missed a similar drive from the right side on Maryland’s previous possession. “They had so much confidence in Joey Brown, thinking he was going to stop me one-on-one. I was pretty surprised nobody stepped up.”
Said Brown: “Duane took me one-on-one and made a great play. He deserves a lot of credit.”
The victory was secured when the Terps pressured Brown into giving up the ball at halfcourt on the Hoyas’ last-ditch possession, and prevented forward Kevin Millen from getting off a shot before the final buzzer. It set off a wild celebration by Williams and his players at midcourt, and by many of the pro-Maryland crowd of 13,761 in the stands.
Williams started jumping in the air and pumping both arms. After momentarily calming himself to shake Thompson’s hand, the Maryland coach hugged Simpkins and several other players. Simpkins then jumped onto the press table to take in a moment he said “I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
While Simpkins provided the last-second heroics, he was far from the only one to come up big yesterday for the Terps.
Freshman center Joe Smith scored more points -- a game-high 26, to go along with nine rebounds and three steals -- than any player in his first game at Maryland. He also more than held his own with Hoyas’ All-American Othella Harrington (16 points, 15 rebounds).
And sophomore guard Johnny Rhodes played his finest game at Maryland, finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.