Terps Only Team to Beat Both NCAA Finalists This Year
April 5, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland Terrapins men's basketball team will have a unique perspective on Monday night's NCAA National Championship, as they are the only team in the nation to have beaten both finalists, North Carolina and Michigan State, during the 2008-09 season.
Maryland beat Michigan State, 80-62, in the first round of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., on Thanksgiving night, Nov. 27. That night, Dave Neal and Greivis Vasquez each scored 17 points as the Terrapins beat the Spartans, who were ranked 5th in the nation at the time.
In one of the signature games of the year nationally, the Terrapins scored an 88-85 overtime win over then-3rd-ranked North Carolina on Feb. 21. Vasquez recorded Maryland's first triple-double since 1987, including a career-high 35 points, in a victory that brought many in the sellout crowd onto the Comcast Center floor to celebrate.
According to Stats LLC, the Terrapins represent the first men's basketball team in the nation to beat both NCAA National Championship participants in the same season in five years. North Carolina, the previous team to accomplish the feat, defeated both Connecticut and Georgia Tech during the 2003-04 season.
Only three other teams have toppled both finalists in the same season during the last 12 years. Stanford knocked off both Duke and Arizona in 2000-01, while Purdue and Kentucky both defeated the championship game participants from the 1999-00 season (Michigan State and Florida).
Maryland played 17 games against 11 opponents that appeared in the 65-team field in this year's NCAA Tournament. The Terps also scored a victory over then-8th-ranked Wake Forest, 75-64, in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Atlanta on March 13.
The Terrapins finished 21-14 overall during 2008-09 and made their 13th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 16 seasons under head coach Gary Williams.