Celebration after Terps beat Duke results in 27 arrests

March 05, 2010|By Don Markus | don.markus@baltsun.com

COLLEGE PARK — — The wild celebration that began immediately after Maryland's 79-72 victory over No. 4 Duke late Wednesday night started with players being carried on the shoulders of other students and ended early Thursday morning in a not-so-joyful setting.

The first win over the Blue Devils in more than three years triggered another Maryland tradition: students pouring into and out of the campus bars along U.S. 1 and confronting police and one another. According to Prince George's County police, 27 arrests were made, including several students, among more than 1,500 students who congregated there.

"We believe that at least 13 of them were identified as current students," said John Zacker, director of student conduct for the university.

A couple of minor injuries were reported, police said.

Zacker said that the post-game celebration on the edge of the campus put a damper on what the Terps accomplished on the court.

"In my eyes, it certainly does," said Zacker, who holds a graduate degree from the university and has worked on the campus for more than 20 years. "It mars the game. It's embarrassing."

John Brown, a Maryland graduate and former president of the Terrapin Club, agrees.

"We really need to start to act like we belong there," said Brown, whose R.J. Bentley's restaurant is a popular post-game hangout for Maryland fans.

Brown said the celebration that took place inside his establishment "was happy, absolutely thrilling. It was a mix of college kids hugging old people like me. They were all celebrating together. We should just all be happy about what this team has accomplished. Enjoy it, but the rioting part and the [expletive] part is really pretty boring."

Brown said the celebration that followed on U.S. 1 was a bit tamer than in the past. While the victory helped the Terps forge a first-place tie in the Atlantic Coast Conference with the Blue Devils, the aftermath left campus officials contemplating what needs to be done in the event of more big wins at next week's ACC tournament and in the coming NCAA tournament. None of those games is scheduled at College Park.

Zacker said that conduct codes were amended after similar confrontations with police during the 2004-05 season to include off-campus incidents after university-sponsored events.

The new guidelines include "rioting, assault, theft, vandalism, fire-setting or other serious misconduct," Zacker said. "Such events that occurred [Wednesday] night on Route 1 might be actionable under university rules."

Zacker said he had yet to see the police reports, but "generally the behavior is categorized as disorderly conduct. ... Most of it is failure to reply to police directions."

Zacker said fans were allowed to swarm the floor after Wednesday night's game and remained there - celebrating with the Maryland players - for some time. A number of players, including sophomore guard Sean Mosley, were carried on the shoulders of fellow students.

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