A History of Gary Williams’ Terps in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament

March 16, 2009 | Glenn Clark

With the Terps back in the Tournament and ready to face Cal-I thought it would be appropriate to look back on how Gary Williams’ Maryland Terrapins have performed in the 1st Round since his first appearance as Terrapins Head Coach in 1994 (Thanks to TerrapinStats.com for help in providing the info)….

Maryland 74, St. Louis 66 (3/17/94 Wichita, KS)-Making his first trip to the NCAA Tournament as Maryland Head Coach; Gary Williams’ Terps were a 10 seed facing Charlie Spoonhour and the 7th seeded St. Louis Billikens. This was St. Louis’ first trip to the Tournament under Spoonhour as well. The Terps were lead by National Freshman of the Year Joe Smith; who scored 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lift the Terps to their first NCAA Tournament win since ’88.

Maryland 87, Gonzaga 63 (3/16/95 Salt Lake City, UT)-A #3 seed in the West in his 2nd trip to the Tournament since returning to College Park; Gary Williams had little trouble guiding his Terps past the Bulldogs in ’95. This Bulldogs team pre-dated the dominant Bulldogs teams of the last 10 years; and many sports fans in the area knew Gonzaga at the time only as the school John Stockton had attended. Joe Smith scored just 9 points in the win, playing only 24 minutes in the blowout. Duane Simpkins lead the Terps with 21 points, Exree Hipp added 15. This remains the only win Maryland win over Gonzaga in school history.

Santa Clara 91, Maryland 79 (3/15/96 Tempe, AZ)-A #7 seed in the West region; Gary Williams suffered his first ever opening round loss in the NCAA Tournament at the hands of upstart Steve Nash and Santa Clara. The future NBA MVP torched the Terps for 28 points and 12 assists. Johnny “Ace” Rhodes did everything he could to keep Maryland in the game with 27 points and 9 rebounds; but Maryland didn’t have a defensive answer for the Canadian superstar.

College of Charleston 75, Maryland 66 (3/13/97 Memphis, TN)-While some pundits thought Maryland was a bubble team going into Selection Sunday; the Terps steered WELL clear of the bubble; receiving a #5 seed in the Southeast. But the #5 seed wasn’t exactly a gift; as the Terps were given a first round matchup with the Cougars; who were a Top 25 team at the end of the season. The Cougars were lead by future NBA Player and Conference Player of the Year Anthony Johnson; who tallied 17 points and 9 assists in the game. The Terps were lead by 18 from Baltimore’s Keith Booth in the loss.

Maryland 82, Utah State 68 (3/12/98 Sacramento, CA)-The Terps were again sent out West in ’98; but the results were much better this time around. Maryland put together a balanced effort; with four players scoring in double digits to beat the Aggies. Baltimore’s Rodney Elliott was the high man with 21 and 11 rebounds to boot. That was Utah State’s first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament; and the first ever NCAA Tournament appearance for then head coach Larry Eustachy.

Maryland 82, Valparaiso 60 (3/11/99 Orlando, FL)-Homer Drew had a number of great memories as Head Coach at Valpo; but this game against Maryland wasn’t one of them. A #2 seed for the first time ever; Gary Williams again had little trouble getting out of the first round; receiving 18 points apiece from Terence Morris and LaRon Profit. Steve Francis chipped in 15 in his his first (and last) opening round game as a Terrapin.

Maryland 74, Iona 59 (3/16/00 Minneapolis, MN)-If only judging by their first round game; you might have thought Maryland was primed to make another run to the Sweet 16 or better in 2000. A #3 seed in the Midwest; the Terps easilly dispatched of the Gaels; building a 13 point halftime advantage and cruising from there. The Terps got double doubles from Terence Morris and Lonny Baxter; as well as 20 points from a promising sophomore from Baltimore named Juan Dixon.

Maryland 83, George Mason 80 (3/15/01 Boise, ID)-As if playing a team just across the state line from you wasn’t intriguing enough; the Terps had to deal with a formiddable inside force when they faced Jim Larranaga’s Patriots as a #3 seed again in the West. Mason was lead by a 30 year old George Evans; who came to Mason after serving in the Army reserves in the Persian Gulf. Evans; a 3 time CAA Player of the Year, helped Mason jump out to a 36-33 halftime lead; and finished with 27 points. But Juan Dixon and Byron Mouton scored 22 each for Maryland; who rallied and survived with an 83-80 victory.

Maryland 85, Siena 70 (3/15/02 Washington, DC)-For the first time in school history; the Terps received a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and were rewarded for their ACC regular title by being allowed to stay home at was then known as the MCI Center in DC. And while this one was never in doubt; it was also never the type of blowout you come to expect from 1/16 matchups. Senior Juan Dixon carried the Terps to the win with 29 points; and Steve Blake added a double double to beat the Saints.

Maryland 75, UNC-Wilmington 73 (3/21/03 Nashville, TN)-The name John Goldsberry was very close to going down as one of the most vile in Maryland history. The Seahawks’ freshman scored 26 points thanks to 8-8 shooting from beyond the arc; and left the #6 seed Terrapins on the brink of being eliminated in the first round just one year after winning the NCAA Championship. But we all remember what happened next; as the last 3 points of Drew Nicholas’ night 22 point night were clearly the most important for the senior. He sank an improbable running 3 pointer at the buzzer and ran straight off the floor to celebrate the Terps’ survival.

Maryland 86, UTEP 83 (3/18/04 Denver, CO)-Coming into the Tournament off of Gary Williams’ only ACC Tournament Championship; the Terps’ stay was almost over very early. Every member of the starting five for Billy Gillespie’s Miners scored in double figures; and the Terps were tested throughout; needing 19 points from Chris McCray and 18 from ACC Tournament MVP John Gilchrist to finish off a first round victory.

Maryland 82, Davidson 70 (3/15/07 Buffalo, NY)-After missing the NCAA Tournament the previous two years; the Terps received the #4 seed in the Midwest region of the bracket. When Maryland fans saw Davidson as the Terps’ first round opponent, few knew about the Wildcats’ freshman guard Stephen Curry. But they would all know about Curry soon enough; as he went off for 30 points; frustrating Maryland’s top defender D.J. Strawberry. But the Terps always had answers; including 17 from senior Mike Jones to move the Terps past the Wildcats and into the 2nd round.

NCAA Tournament First Round appearance #13 looms for Gary Williams’ Terps Thursday against Cal. If they win; I’ll be back Friday with a look back on Maryland’s 10 previous 2nd round games under Gary Williams.