#WNSTSweet16 Best Local Sports Playoff Moments

January 14, 2014 | Luke Jones

7. Juan Dixon leads Maryland to the 2002 NCAA championship

It was a dream that seemed impossible only a decade earlier as Maryland was leveled with NCAA sanctions in the years following the tragic death of Len Bias. What made it even more special for local fans was a Baltimore kid and a Maryland alum leading the way for the Terps.

Calvert Hall product Juan Dixon and head coach Gary Williams were the perfect pair to lead Maryland to the promised land as they survived an epic showdown with Connecticut in the regional final and a furious comeback attempt by Kansas in the national semifinal to meet Indiana in the 2002 national championship game. The game itself wasn’t aesthetically pleasing, but Dixon’s 18 points led the way to a 64-52 victory as Maryland cut down the nets and the senior guard earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player honor.

The final seconds included Dixon flinging the ball toward the roof of the Georgia Dome before he fell into an embrace with fellow senior Lonny Baxter. Longtime Terps radio voice Johnny Holliday described Maryland’s incredible journey best in exclaiming, “The kids have done it!”


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