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Maryland 112, Virginia 92
Posted: Monday March 04, 2002 01:05 AM
Virginia
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Maryland
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COLLEGE PARK, Maryland (Ticker) -- Seniors Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter sent the Cole Field House out in style.

Dixon had 23 points and Baxter 20 on 8-of-10 shooting on Senior Night as No. 2 Maryland defeated Atlantic Coast Conference rival Virginia, 112-92, in the 637th and final contest at the arena, which has been the Terrapins' home venue since 1955.

Cole Field House is the only on-campus facility to host two Final Fours. The historic 1966 Final Four, in which an all-black Texas Western team defeated all-white Kentucky for the championship, was played here as well as the 1970 Final Four that saw UCLA win its fourth of seven consecutive NCAA titles.

Maryland (25-3, 15-1 ACC), which had earned its first regular-season conference title since 1980 after Duke lost at Virginia on Thursday, will play at the newly built Comcast Center across campus next season after going 486-151 at Cole.

The victory was the Terps' 12th in a row, setting a school record for consecutive ACC victories. Maryland finished the season 15-0 at Cole, matching the 1994-95 team as the only one in school history to complete an unbeaten home campaign.

Virginia (17-10, 7-9) led, 19-14, after Jason Clark made a layup midway through the first half. But Maryland countered with a 25-5 run and took a 43-36 lead into halftime.

"It seemed like the game would never start, there were so many distractions," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "This wasn't typical preparation for a game with all the players coming back. It was really tough, we tried to keep the players away from that, but sometimes you can't do that. I was really proud of them tonight, it was tough getting started, but we got the lead midway through and then we came out and played great in the second half." Steve Blake began the second half with a 3-pointer to start an 18-6 burst capped by a layup by Baxter that made it 61-42 with 15 minutes to go. The Cavaliers got no closer than 15 points thereafter.

Chris Wilcox added 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds for Maryland, which won its ninth straight game over Virginia at Cole. Blake chipped in 15 and 10 assists and Byron Mouton, a senior, added 11 and five assists.

Reserve Earl Badu, the fourth and final member of the winningiest class in school history, scored the first points of his career on a layup with less than a minute remaining.

Maryland's seniors have a four-year record of 103-30, including the school's first Final Four appearance last season.

Chris Williams had 28 points and Travis Watson 20 for the Cavaliers, who lost their sixth consecutive road contest.

"You can't outscore a great team like Maryland with their great talent," Virginia coach Pete Gillen said. "We had a great offensive game but our defense was very bad, expecially in the second half." Virginia, which lost for the sixth time in seven games, shot 50 percent (32-of-64) but allowed Maryland to convert 62 percent (40-of-65). The Terps shot an astonishing 73 percent in the second half (24-of-33), scoring 69 points in the final 20 minutes.

After the game, former Terps greats were introduced and the current players and Williams cut down the net of the basket in front of their bench.

"I never have been one to talk about goals, but at 'Midnight Madness' I did say we were going to go undefeated," Williams said. "I slipped 'try' in there just in case we didn't make it, but I really meant it. That was a personal goal to go undefeated this year in Cole. You might as well leave in the right way." .

 


 
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