Terps Top San Francisco For Williams' 400th Win
Nov. 17, 1999
By DAVID GINSBURG
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Forgive Gary Williams and the Maryland Terrapins for not being swept away by emotion over the coach's 400th career victory. They've got more important things on their mind, most notably a Thanksgiving a trip to New York.
Juan Dixon scored a career-high 20 points Wednesday night as Maryland gave Williams that 400th win by beating San Francisco 71-61 in the opening round of the Preseason NIT.
"It doesn't mean a lot right now, but I'm sure it will someday," Williams said of his milestone victory. "To get the season off with a win is the most important thing."
Maryland will play host to Tulane in the second round Friday night. The winner of that game advances to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 24.
"He really didn't talk to us about his 400th win at all," Maryland's Mike Mardesich said. "He wanted us to focus on the game. We wanted to do it for him, but it wasn't a factor in how we played."
The Terrapins never trailed en route to their 65th consecutive non-conference win at home, the longest current streak in the nation. Maryland let a 16-point lead dwindle to two in the second half before Lonny Baxter scored seven straight points in a pivotal 8-0 run that made it 62-52 with 6:07 left.
"The coach said get the ball inside. They were focusing on Terence Morris, so that left me free," Baxter said. "When I catch the ball inside, I expect to score."
James Lee had 15 points and Kenyon Jones added 13 for the Dons, who scored only nine points over the final nine minutes.
"Maryland was everything we thought they'd be," San Francisco coach Phil Mathews said. "They're an awfully young team and they made some mistakes. We just made more of them."
The Dons committed 23 turnovers and shot 41 percent, including 2-for-12 from 3-point range.
Dixon, a sophomore guard, was 9-of-17 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Baxter had 18 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots.
"We knew we'd have problems with Baxter. He's a horse," Mathews said.
Williams, now in his 22nd season, owns a 400-245 career record. He's won 193 games at Maryland and a combined 207 at American University, Boston College and Ohio State.
With 1:31 left, the fans at Cole Field House began chanting "Gary! Gary!" and many displayed small cards with the number 400 on them.
"I'm glad it's over because it's unfair to the players," Williams said. "It's their season, not my season. It's about the games we win, not if the coach gets 400."
Maryland led 54-40 before San Francisco got six points from Darrell Tucker in a 12-0 run that made it 54-52 with 9:31 left. Baxter then made a layup and later hit a free throw to put Maryland up by five with 7:56 remaining.
After Tucker missed a layup, Baxter scored inside and hit two free throws on the Terrapins' next possession to make it 61-52.
San Francisco committed five turnovers and missed three of four shots in the opening four minutes to fall behind 8-2, then used a 10-4 surge to pull even.
It was 16-16 before Mardesich made a foul shot to start a 13-4 run in which six players scored. After the Dons closed to 30-24, Maryland reeled off six straight points to go up by 12.
The Terrapins expanded a 14-point halftime lead to 44-28 early in the second half before USF answered with a 5-0 run. Mardesich then scored in the lane and Morris hit a follow shot to up the margin to 15 points.
Morris, a preseason All-America, finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.
"I don't think he'd call that a great game, but tonight Lonny was open and they did a good job on Terence," Williams said. "Wherever the points come from, we'll take it."