Gary’s Best

In preparation for the biggest game of the year, it’s a good time to look back at some of the greatest wins of Gary Williams’ tenure at Maryland. Hopefully, this will get you pumped for the Carolina game.

In reverse order:

#5 January 31st, 2002. Maryland 91 – Virginia 87

Also known as Drew Nicholas game #2. Let me set the scene. The Terps were down by nine at Virginia with three minutes to play. If I recall correctly, Gary even had the boys roll the ball up the court for a few possessions (that never works). Then, Nicholas caught fire. He rained a barrage of threes and suddenly the Terps were winning. Virginia was shell shocked and the Terps stole a win on the road. I remember turning to my buddy and saying, “we never win THAT game”. I couldn’t remember a comeback as miraculous as that in the history of Terps basketball. It was at that moment, I knew the Terps were cutting the nets down in Atlanta.

#4 2003 NCAA Tournament, First Round. Maryland 75 – UNC Wilmington73

Also known as THE Drew Nicholas Game. Who could forget this one? UNCW played out of it’s mind and was just taking it to the Terps for 39 minutes and 57 seconds. In the final minutes, Maryland pulled within 1 and had the ball with three seconds left. Gary called timeout. Many thought that Steve Blake would take the final shot, but for anyone who remembers the aforementioned game at Virginia, it was clear who was taking the final shot. I can picture it like it was yesterday. What Maryland fan can’t? Nicholas caught the ball on the baseline and hit a three as he was falling out of bounds. Swish. Game over. If you were in the Sports Book at the Mandalay Bay Casino that day; you saw me and 10 of my college friends go ballistic in front of 1000 strangers.

#3 2004 ACC Championship Game. Maryland 92 – Duke 87

Not only was it Gary’s first ACC title, but it ended Duke’s streak of 6 straight ACC Championships. The Blue Devils can say all they want about Maryland “not being their rivals”, but if they look at their most devastating losses over the last 7 years; many of them are at the hands of the Terps. Of course, the same could be said for the Terps worst losses. And that proves my point. Great rivals do that to each other.

People remember that photo (so eloquently photoshopped in the previous post) of the crying Duke kid, but forget what an incredible game it was. The Terps were down 10 with three minutes to go in regulation. Mike Jones caught fire and carried us to OT. Looking back, MJ was limited; but boy he is clutch isn’t he? It turned out that the title was bittersweet as it was the end of an amazing run. The Terps would miss the Tournament the following year and the class of 2006 would self-destruct. It was still a win for the ages.

#2 1993 NCAA Tournament Second Round. Maryland 95 – UMass 87

This was the game that brought Maryland back into the national spotlight. I was a sophomore at the time and so were Johnny Rhodes, Exree Hipp, and Duane Simpkins (all local kids, by the way). The most memorable moment ocurred when Exree had gotten fouled while converting a difficult layup attempt, got up from the floor, pounded his chest and said, “This is my game!”. I don’t know who was calling the game that day for CBS, but I will never forget what he said after that moment: “The number 2 seed in the Midwest is in trouble!”. The history of Maryland basketball was changed forever.

#1 2001 NCAA Regional Final. Maryland 87 – Stanford73

No one would have beaten the Terps that day. It was the most dominant performance I had ever seen the Terps turn in. Stanford was a good team and they didn’t stand a chance against Juan, Lonnie and the boys. Lonnie destroyed their bigs
One of my favorite stories about the 2001 season occured in the ACC Semifinal. After Duke squeaked by with an 84-82 win (remember Juan’s desperation 40 foot heave that almost went in?), Shane Battier walked up to Juan, hugged him and said, “I’ll see you at the Final Four”. Battier knew a good team when he saw one.
Much like this season, the 2001 Terps went through some extreme highs and lows. From gone in 53 seconds to the win at Duke. The Terps were streaking heading into the Tournament and everybody felt the breakthrough was coming, but the Stanford game provided the moment. Anyone who had ever spent time in College Park or grew up in the state had waited for that moment. The school with the most Top 10 finishes to have never gone to a Final Four was no longer Maryland. Our suffering had ended.

Even Coach K upon being interviewed after making the Final Four himself said “I’m so happy for their kids” in referring to the Maryland. I think it is the only time in my life that I actually didn’t hate the man. Of course, I was wasted and still celebrating Maryland’s win, so it could have been the booze.



  1. Not to nitpick, but wasn’t that UMASS game in 1994?

  2. Yeah it was March 1994, but the 93-94 season. I think Maryland went 16-11 that year, still made the tournament destroyed St. Louis before that big game over UMass, then played the Fab Five tight before falling to Michigan. That UMASS game put Maryland basketball back on the map.

  3. Actually, maybe it wasn’t the Fab Five. I think Webber went pro after that North Carolina debacle in 92 or 93. Not like he could go back to school after that game anyway. The memory is a little hazy.

  4. What about the G’Town-MD game from that same year (93-94)? Or the UNC-MD game in CP the following year? Or the the Joe Smith calling his ESPN moment game at Dook?

    Those games were better games than either of the Drew Nicholas games. In fact, the only notable thing about the NCAA game that Nicholas won was his game winning shot. That they were in a dog fight with UNCW in the first round of the NCAAs doesn’t mean it was a good game. Outcome = good. Game = bad.

  5. It was the Fab 4 we lost to in 1994.

    I agree with the countdown except for the no mention of John Gilchrist who singlehandedly won that ACC title game. Jones hit one big 3, but it was Gilchrist who hit the 3 point play that tied it up and carried us through that entire tournament.

    Also, that Georgetown game was the moment the program was back. Kurtis Schultz’s steal and Simpkins runner could be the biggest moment in history if not for the national title.

    And as one of the people in the scrum at the Mandalay Bay for the Nicholas game winner, it was a scene man! And it was good ol Mario Lucas’ 3 pointer that had the broadcaster saying “2 seed in midwest is in trouble.” Trust me, I just watched it on tape! What a moment!

  6. Gregg, glad every time you post. The best win by Gary’s Terps? 2000-2001 season. We lose five in a row, started by the failure to hold a 10-point lead against Duke at home in the final minute. We bottom out with a loss at home to Florida State. We win once on the road (Wake, I think), and then there we are at Durhamburg, given no chance whatsoever by anybody. Final: Maryland 91, Duke 80. From there, we’re on our way to our first Final Four.

    Does this sound in any way like this year’s team? Tanking at home (this time vs. UVA), breaking out with a win against Duke, then just winning like crazy.

    Somewhere right now, on a bus making its doomed way up to College Park from Chapel Hill in the cold winter rain: our next victim

    We win out.

  7. One more great one was the UConn game in the Elite 8 in 2002. I was scared to death of Caron Butler down the stretch and thought he might singlehandedly beat the Terps. At that moment I would’ve taken him #1 in the draft.

    On the other end of the spectrum the St John’s game in the 1999 (I think) tournament was beyond frustrating. I think Maryland, correct me if I’m wrong, went 137 minutes without scoring a point in the second half.

  8. Oh, the UCLA game in the 2000 tournament was awful too — I think I blacked out once the Terps were down 40.

  9. Gee, I was just wondering: has Gary ever managed to slay a number one ranked team with his Terps?
    Now that would be a big win, huh?

  10. Less than 24 hours, and Vaz will have the opportunity to lead the Terps to one of their most memorable games. Hayes will be right behind him in growth. (Growth is the key to what is unfolding). DJ, Mickey J., Gist and eKene, The Ivory Tower and Boom, Gary has created a monster.

  11. What about the win at #1 Florida in 2003 with (glup!) Travis Garrison hitting the game winning shot?

  12. A lot of people forget about the Feb. 2000 win at Cameron. That was to me the real start of the rivalry with Duke. The Devils had streaks of 31 consecutive ACC wins and 46 consecutive home wins before GW, Juan, Lonny and Terrence Morris walked in there and beat them like they stole something. That gave the Terps the confidence that they could beat Duke and I think that was the real springboard game for the next two incredible years that culminated with a National Championship.

  13. Gregg, you are 100% correct. MJ was not the star of the ACC title game, it was all John Gilchrist (as was the entire ACC tournament). In fact, I don’t even recall the supposed 3 that MJ hit. I’ll probably never forget the play where Gilchrist stole the ball from Duhon in the open court, and then drove for a lay-up (getting fouled hard in the process) to tie the game.

  14. Top 5 ALL-MD Team:

    Len Bias
    Len Elmore
    Walt Williams
    Juan Dixon
    Tom McMillan

    John Lucas, Albert King, and Steve Blake off the bench (we need the guards!).

  15. These memories are so great.

    To answer the beating number 1 question. Gary has done it 3 times. The first was the 1995 season against UNC at home. Glorious night. We had a keg waiting at the Guilford apartment to either celebrate or drown our sorrows. It was a great great night!

    Next was also against #1 UNC at home in overtime in 1998. Carolina was undefeated at the time. Vince Carter and Jamison both played. Didn’t matter. Another night to remember.

    The Florida victory was already mentioned. Great game by freshman DJ in that one.

    Another great moment from the past. How about Laron Profit’s game winner on the road against Tim Duncan and Wake.

    Ah the memories!

  16. Oh, and to respond to the Top Players. Don’t forget how dominate Joe Smith was during his 2 years. We haven’t had an inside presence like him before or after.

  17. Kurtis Schultz! Awesome. Didn’t he pass up a football scholarship at Notre Dame to play hoops for Maryland?

    I’ll never forget the 93-94 win over G’town. It was my freshman year, and I was home for Thanksgiving break. I remember sitting on the floor at my mom’s house, two feet from the TV, hanging on every possession. Joe Smith dominated Othella Harrington that game. What a great win, the beginning of an incredible run.

  18. Here’s an article Eric Prisbell wrote in todays Washington Post about Hayes and Vasquez. Not matter what happens today, the future looks really bright…

  19. I read somewhere the other day (I think in Wilbon’s Post article) that Gary is the current leader in wins against #1 teams with 6: 5 at MD and 1 at OSU. As for Kurt Schultz, while I am sure that he had and turned down offers to play football, he didn’t play football in high school at DeMatha. It’s easy to see why he probably did get offers for football. Last I heard, he was the strength and conditioning coach for the Cincinnati Bengals.


  20. On the 2004 ACC Championship game. Gilcrest was the main man in that game and Jones hit some nice shots and clutch free throws in OT. However, don’t forget about Jamar Smith. He had 25 and 12. I remember having an excellent game. Here is the box.

    Garrison even had 19 points.

  21. It’s hard to single out a “best” game. One worth mentioning but so far overlooked was MD’s destruction of a very fine Stanford team in the 2001 western regional finals (in Anaheim, if memory serves). It was about as flawless a team performance for two halves that I’ve seen from the Terps since the classic overtime victory by the David Thompson-led NCST in the 1974 ACC tournament final. MD carried over the 2001 Stanford blowout to the first half of the national semi-finals against Duke. Battier did us in, maybe Duke’s all-time money player. To offer a history primer, after MD lost that 1974 game and rejected an NIT invitation, the next year the NCAA expanded the tournament. MD was clearly the #2 team in the nation–probably the #1 team, since NCST had a bye and entered the game more rested. It went on to win the national championship that year.

    For those who might have missed this article from the Raleigh News & Observer, the Heels have been getting their toenails pedicured. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Comcast showered with emory boards during the game.

  22. Ah GAK, the memories. That was the biggest win that I can think of. I mean two kegs of Lowenbrau followed by Pert wanting to tell the cops to “just leave”. Nice. Good times.

  23. Yeah, Hartz. Telling the Cops that “we are underage and we’re sorry” just wouldn’t have cut it. That’s why we had to lock him in his room!

    Go Terps!

  24. The top 5 Maryland team needs to have Joe Smith on it, even if he’s coming off the bench.

  25. We’re shooting bricks and getting out-hustled to every loose ball. Not the start we need against a top 5 team.

  26. Yet, it’s still totally anyone’s ball game as of right now!

  27. Okay, now we’re passing the ball and pounding it inside. Hansbrough seems to struggle with Osby.

  28. To be only down 3 is great the Terps are definitely hustling. I don’t understand why they are pressing, everytime they do it leads to a WIDE OPEN three. They are fine when just playing solid defense. Osby is playing great once again, Ibekwe is playing hard but of course picked up 2 idiotic fouls. Eric Hayes looks totally lost. He has committed several turnovers on possessions where the Terps had a chance to cut the deficit or tie the game. It seems like the speed of the Carolina guards has Hayes overwhelmed. The Terps need to come out strong they really have a chance to win this game.

  29. Wow. Just wow! I’ll post when the wine buzz wears off and I’m not so speechless. Time to open another bottle and celebrate!

  30. Well, that was sweet. Until Carolina missed that easy layup I thought it was over; then when MJ hit the 3 we were right back in it. We’re dancing, folks.

  31. So glad that Philly’s Comcast decided to show me the last 11:38 of the game. Wow what a great comeback. These kids are playing great now.

    I’m starting to believe Kaze. We win out!

  32. ditto on the speechless-ness….i don’t even know what to say. i can barely believe what my eyes just saw.

  33. WE ARE DANCIN’ PEOPLE! I take it back, I take it all back. All the things I was thinking about Gary Williams (I even had a short list of replacements) but I TAKE IT ALL BACK.

    I’m proud of these kids.


  34. We . . . well, you already know.

  35. Like some of you, I just don’t really know what to say. What a huge win! I usually hesitate to talk about “being in” even this late, but I’d say that locks it up. Talk about a team coming together and playing with a lot of emotion. This is what we’re accustomed to with a Gary Williams coached team. DJ alluded to it in his post game interview. He said the team’s heart says a lot about Coach Williams.

    And if you didn’t see Gary’s post game interview you missed out on a great moment. He got very choked up a couple times talking about the game and all the negative talk this season. I quote, “I’ve been doing this a long time you’d think I would learn how to not do this (choke up)…Sometimes I may get too involved in the game (emotionally), but I believe you have to be yourself.” Amen. Go Terps!

  36. That was too sweet. Ranks right up there with the best of wins and best of seasons. Finally, after our long national Terp nightmare, we have a team that understands and will play with GW’s heart. Got to love this coach. The recruiting thing may have passed him by, but give him some players with skills that are willing to be pulled along on his emotional roller coastal, and it is the best show in sports. God Love the Terps and God love Gary Williams.

  37. Huge win today. Fucking Fox Bay Area didn’t air the game today in leiu of the Warriors-Lakers game. So me and every Maryland and Carolina fan in a 10-block radius rolled into the local sports bar at 18:00 in the first half.

    Anyways, I can’t believe Hartz neglected to mention the classic line from a Terps fan at the Pond during the Stanford game…directed to the Collins twins of Stanford, “HOW DOES LONNIE BAXTER’S DICK FEEL IN YOUR ASS?” You stay classy Anaheim.

  38. For anyone who didn’t believe in Gary, I hope you watched the last 3 games. He outcoached his opponent brilliantly. As for recruiting, we have a heck of a starting backcourt for the next 3 years, plus he plucked Osby from god-knows-where. That’s recruiting. If it wasn’t for Osby’s play, we don’t go on this winning streak.

    Great job by the entire team. It was a big game atmosphere and while we didn’t play great or smart the whole time, they never quit and got it done when it counted.

    Beautiful, just beautiful.

  39. Guys, come on. The #1 all time win was the 2002 Maryland over Duke win at Cole Field House. I was there and that game was amazine. MD was ranked #4 and Duke #1. The place was nuts and everybody wanted that game after the battles in 2001. Blake steals the ball from Jason Williams right before the half (amazing play). It was that game that Maryland deserved the #1 ranking after that, but it propelled them to the national championship. I’ll never forget the chants of “We’re #1” after that win … it was the first time in my lifetime that we said and meant it, literally.

  40. WOW! Bring on Dook! We’re all back on the bandwagon now! GO TERPS!!!

  41. I too take back my comments earlier this year when I questioned whether Gary could still motivate these young guys. I hope I remember times like these the next time I doubt. These kids are showing the heart of winners and have been fun to watch. I hope they can carry this momentum into the ACC and NCAA’s. They’ve earned it. They’ve also earned to be ranked. Great job Gary and Terps!

  42. Clavin: That may have been the funniest moment ever.

    Everyone: I am archiving this thread and making it mandatory reading every time someone calls for Gary’s head.

    A thought that I might bring up again…how much more likable is this team than last year’s?

  43. From Gary’s post game comments…

    “For the loyal Maryland fans, this is our team. We’re going to be good in the future and we plan on being around a long time.”

  44. It’s amazing the the turnaround DJ Strawberry has made. Not having to handle the ball lets him cut to the basket and create havoc on both sides of the ball. The seniors really stepped up, this is one of the few games this year where Jones, Ibekwe and DJ played well in the same game.

    One thought, does this now raise the expectations for this team. A couple weeks ago, just making the NCAA was the goal, now will anything less than a Sweet 16 be a disappointment?

  45. John – On post 30. You are so correct about Osby, Ebekwe and Hayes. Hayes was lost in the first half either picking up his dribble or turning it over. He did play well in the 2nd half.

    PT – I was going to say the same thing about DJ’s post game interview. He said Coach Williams pushes us and never gave up on us.

    Gregg – Gary’s coaching has been brilliant during this run. Some things I noticed today. He did not play Hayes until under 10 in the 2nd half because of his first half. Then he brings in Hayes for Vasquez because he was playing out of control. Hayes calmed the team down an played way better that his first half. He hit the boards again. Gary also played Osby more and is calling plays for him. Boom played Hansbrough very well and was active on the boards. I think he had 8 boards in the first half. Thought I saw that graphic. Gary also sat Gist down a good amount of time in the 2nd half. Not sure why. And he was yelling at him to shut up during a late time out and telling Booth to get him to shut up.

    My take on the game. The Terps had not seen that defense pressure like that the whole season. UNC is quick, deep and basically loaded with talent. Hayes and Vasquez adjusted in the 2nd half. Jones played excellent. Especially after that 2nd half turnover. The plays that were called for him were smart. The one across the lane and the post ups. Osby was a huge spark. The blocks late in the 2nd half were the turning point. And they hit their free throws late in the game.

    Just a great feeling. I hope they can keep it up. Puke is next.

  46. “E Terpius Garryum”
    In Gary We Trust.
    We should be ranked about 16 or 17 after that piece of beauty I just went to. Place was as loud as I have ever heard it.

  47. John – DJ has stepped up in a big way. He is letting the game come to him instead of forcing shots. Slashing to the hoop suits him perfectly. Vasquez and Hayes are getting him the ball in good spots Career high 27 points tonight. Sweet.

  48. I got a bad taste in my mouth from eating my words. Just when I thought I had GW figured out, he pulls this amazing coaching job out of his ass. So much for the treachery of snap judgments.

  49. We . . . c’mon. Somebody say it.

  50. WIN OUT!!!! Go Maryland!!!! I am watching the last five minutes on DVR right now. What a game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Correction, watching it again. So good I just can’t get enough

  52. We did it baby!

    An incredible effort all the way around. We ran with the fastest team in basketball. We fought our asses off on the boards, against a beast front court. DJ held Rayshawn Terry to 6 points, while scoring 27 on the other end. Ty Lawson had 9 assists, but he wasn’t able to penetrate and create easy shots.

    And props to Gary for coaching a fantastic game. He started with the press, full court, but realized it wasn’t happening and pulled the defense back in the second half, which goes against everything he stands for. He stuck with Hayes late, despite Hayes having played one of the worst first halves of his short career. And he did a great job subbing the big guys in and out of the game. Hansbrough got his points, but he only had 4 rebounds, thanks to Osby muscling his ass off the block. Ibekwe struggled for most of the game, but Gary had him in for the final push, and Ibekwe came up huge on the line. Man . . . what more can you say?

    I was on my way out of Comcast when Gary made his post-game comments. I’m sorry I missed it. He deserves to bask in this win, after suffering through doubts, calls for his job, etc. Let’s show Gary some love. He’s more than earned it.

  53. I haven’t been watching much of the Dookies of late, just catching an occasional ESPN highlight here and there. We’re both 8-6, who is playing better? Are we facing the same team we saw at College Park a few games ago when our streak began?

  54. This game should be on ESPN Classic. UNC ran up double-digit leads twice, but Gary’s team just wouldn’t give in. Pretty much everyone on the team contributed:

    – DJ with the points, the defense, and even the extra passes to feed Jones on the breaks
    – Vasquez and Hayes both a little shaky at times, but still getting the ball where it needs to go
    – Osby almost getting a double-double (1 rebound short)
    – Jones hitting the huge 3 after his turnover
    – How about Ibekwe and Gist getting key blocks and being clutch from the line towards the end?
    – Even Bowers chipped in with 2 from the line
    – Terps went 20-26 overall from the line, and they needed every last one of them, too.

    Remember how the announcers said a key to the game for Maryland was transition defense? They clamped down hard with about the 7:00 left in the game, and it was UNC’s transition D that was lacking pretty much all game.


    That’s the sound of the Terps’ dance ticket being punched, and what a sweet sound it is! This team is now at the point where they know they can beat anybody. The rest of the NCAA teams are on notice. Look for the Turtle to roar in March!

  55. Hey….remember me. I’m the guy that has been saying all along that many of you are too hard on
    Gary, DJ, MJ and gosh;….Bowers and a few others.

    Seriously, don’t take these comments as self-agrandizing however, there haven’t been many like them for a long while.

    What’s most important here is ….what can we (as loyal fans) learn from all this?

    It’s real simple and the players showed us tonight
    by not giving up and not giving in.

    It’s said that after the big war (WWII) Winston Churchill was asked to address a graduating class at his old high school.

    He limps up to the podium and in his inimitable way
    makes the following address. Just 2 words and then he walks away and sits down.

    You ready?

    Here goes!

    “Neva” (that’s actually spelled Never) but you got to get the dialect.

    “Neva Quit”

    Nuff said.

    Go Terps. Go Gary!!!!!!

  56. “Never stop, never stop fighting till the fight is done!”
    “What’d you say? What’re you saying?”
    “I said, Never stop fighting till the fight is done!!”
    “You head me, Roy. It’s Over!”

  57. As an added bonus – according to the Washington Post, Jai Lucas and his father John Lucas were on hand for this great game!!

  58. I’ll never forget Drew sinking that fade away jumper at the buzzer. That’s my all time favorite Terp basketball memory. Sitting at the bar with all my depressed friends suling over how miserable this game was…then Drew gets the ball and tosses it up at the buzzer….the ball must have been in the ai for at least a week and a half….and he sinks it!

    The entire bar went nuts. The crowd at the game went nuts. It was just a wonderful wonderful good time!

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