Terps give Hoyas neighborly nudge

November 27, 1993|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Forget about seeing a sequel at Cole Field House next season. Forget all the hype that preceded yesterday's Maryland-Georgetown game at USAir Arena, or the hoopla that will follow it.

If Georgetown coach John Thompson agrees to schedule a game against Maryland next year, it might be as big a shocker as what the Terrapins did to Georgetown yesterday.

It took 13 years to renew the rivalry, but it was worth the wait for Maryland. Sophomore point guard Duane Simpkins' layup over Georgetown forward Don Reid with three seconds remaining in overtime gave the Terps an 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 nationally televised victory over the heavily favored Hoyas. "For too long at Maryland, we haven't known what we could be."

Said Thompson, who lost a 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 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).

Sophomore guard Johnny Rhodes played his finest game at Maryland, finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Booth, the former Dunbar star, had 12 points and five rebounds. Freshman Nick Bosnic had six points and four rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench, and played down the stretch after sophomore forward Exree Hipp fouled out with 3:29 to go in regulation.

"Everybody out there did something to help us win," said Rhodes, who helped Maryland off to a fast start (18-11) and then helped the Terps come back from deficits of 38-28 at halftime, 51-37 with 12:32 remaining and 64-55 with 7:46 left. "I think we had a lot more confidence at the end of the game than we did last year."

Said Hipp: "I think this game proves we're better than people think."

Maryland didn't have much time to enjoy its victory, considering that the Terps will play what was supposed to be their 1993-94 season opener tonight against Cornell at Cole Field House.

As long as his young team was able to go to sleep last night, Williams was looking forward to the quick turnaround.

"The worst-case scenario is that this keeps us from getting better," said Williams, who often had three freshmen on the floor. "But we know we have to keep working harder, we have to be able to not have those eight-minute periods when we can't score. In my whole playing career, I probably won one game like this -- when we beat Houston with Elvin Hayes in the Sugar Bowl tournament. It's one of those games that our kids can remember for the rest of their lives."

It will certainly be something Thompson remembers when it comes time to talk about a rematch. After he surprised many by agreeing to the game last spring, Thompson has hedged about whether it can become an annual event. That attendance fell nearly 5,000 short of a sellout didn't help. That Maryland won might have killed the possibility for good.

"So much for the city rivalry," said Thompson. "We'll see. I liked the enthusiasm and atmosphere. . . . But I'm not scheduling it today."

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