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Men’s basketball: Best moments from UConn and Maryland’s all-time series

The Huskies and Terrapins have some history with each other on the hardwood.

Connecticut v Maryland X Dixon

UConn is back in the tournament for the first time since 2016, opening up with the Maryland Terrapins out of the Big 10. While a lot has changed since these two teams last met in 2015, the two schools do have some history with another. The Huskies lead the all-time series over the Terps 4-3 in a series that dates all the way back to 1941. The two teams have also faced off twice before in the NCAA tournament, with UConn going 1-1 against Maryland in the Big Dance.

As Dan Hurley prepares the 7-seed Huskies to take on Mark Turgeon and the 10-seed Terps in the first round, we look back at some of the notable matchups between the schools over the years.

Notable Regular Season Matchups

No. 18 UConn 78, Maryland 77

When: Nov. 8, 2013

Where: Barclays Center - Brooklyn, NY

This was the game that jump started a season with one of the most unpredictable finishes in NCAA history. UConn fans simply refer to it as the Tyler Olander game (not really), but UConn got their season off on the right foot with a 78-77 win against Maryland. This game was pretty deadlocked in terms of overall stats, as both teams were neck and neck in turnovers (13 to 13), rebounds (36 to 33), three point percentage (43.5% to 42.1%), and assists (16 to 15).

Shabazz Napier led the way in scoring (18), rebounding (7) and assists (7) — a feat not uncommon for him that season. After former top-40 recruit Nick Faust hit a three for Maryland with 2:28 to go, pulling within two, Tyler Olander answered with a three of his own to put the Huskies up for good. It was Olander’s first of two total threes he hit that year. From there, Maryland had multiple chances to take back the lead in the final minute due to three straight missed one-and-ones by the Huskies, but couldn’t get anything to drop.

Of course, UConn went on to win the national title this year as a No. 7 seed, the second lowest seeded team to ever win a national championship. The Huskies beat No. 8 seeded Kentucky in the final game, 60-54. Maryland, on the other hand, ended the year with a 17-15 (9-9) record, losing in the second round of the ACC tournament to Florida State, 67-65.

Future NBA Players featured in the game

UConn

Shabazz Napier - Drafted No. 24 overall in 2014 to the Charlotte Hornets (traded to Miami Heat on draft night)

DeAndre Daniels - Drafted No. 37 overall in 2014 to the Toronto Raptors

Maryland

Jake Layman - Drafted No. 47 overall in 2016 to the Orlando Magic

No. 6 Maryland 76, UConn 66

When: Dec. 8, 2015

Where: Madison Square Garden - New York City

The Terrapins blitzed the Huskies in this one and were led by first-team all Big Ten guard Melo Trimble, who scored 25 points in the contest, hitting 14-15 from the charity stripe. Their next three biggest starting contributors — Layman, Robert Carter Jr, and Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon - all chipped in eight points as well.

Former top 10 recruit Diamond Stone, a former UConn recruiting target, never really panned out but he made his presence felt in this one with 16 points and nine rebounds. UConn put together a fairly balanced scoring effort with Daniel Hamilton (23 points), Rodney Purvis (11), Sterling Gibbs (12), and Shonn Miller (12) all hitting double figures, but the bench was only able to muster a measly six points. Besides this, the biggest difference in the game was the rebounding margin. Maryland out-boarded the Huskies 45-24, that included 14 second chance opportunities.

UConn had an up and down year in the AAC, finishing fifth, and needed to win the conference tournament to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive. Thanks to some timely plays by Hamilton and a three-quarter court shot from freshman guard Jalen Adams in the quarterfinals, UConn snuck into the NCAA tournament as a No. 9 seed. After a 10-point come from behind victory over Colorado in the first round, UConn ran into No. 1 overall seeded Kansas and simply didn’t have the firepower to keep up, losing 73-61.

This was Maryland’s most promising team in awhile, starting the season 22-3 and peaking at No. 2 in the national rankings. They then proceeded to drop a handful of games in an always competitive Big Ten, coming into the NCAA tournament as a five seed. Maryland made it to the Sweet 16, but like UConn, had their season ended by No. 1 seeded Kansas, losing 79-63.

Future NBA Players featured in the game

UConn

Daniel Hamilton - Drafted No. 56 overall in 2016 by the Denver Nuggets

Maryland

Diamond Stone - Drafted No. 40 overall in 2016 by the New Orleans Pelicans

Jake Layman

Postseason Matchups

No. 2 UConn 99, No. 3 Maryland 89 - Sweet 16

When: March 23, 1995

Where: Oracle Arena - Oakland, California

This was the game where Jim Calhoun earned his second Elite Eight berth as a head coach, and further solidified UConn’s status as a perennial contender. Connecticut’s path consisted of a 100-71 drubbing of No. 15 seed Chattanooga and a hard fought win over No. 7 seed Cincinnati.

Maryland was taking care of business on their road to this Sweet 16 matchup, beating both No. 14 seed Gonzaga and No. 11 seed Texas by 14-plus points. The Huskies were led in this one by their dynamic trio of Ray Allen, Donny Marshall, and Doron Sheffer, as the three combined for 57 points, 21 rebounds, and 12 assists. Kevin Ollie also chipped in nine points and four assists. The Terrapins stayed in the game with their elite guard-center combo of Johnny Rhodes and Joe Smith — who each scored 22 in the game — but they couldn’t get enough from their supporting cast to earn the victory. Following this game, UConn lost in the Elite Eight to No. 1 seed UCLA, the eventual 1995 national champions.

Future NBA Players featured in the game

UConn

Ray Allen - Drafted fifth overall in 1996 by the Minnesota Timberwolves

Donny Marshall - Drafted 39th overall in 1995 by the Cleveland Cavaliers

Kevin Ollie - Undrafted in 1995, played 13 seasons in the NBA

Maryland

Joe Smith - Drafted No. 1 overall in 1995 to the Golden State Warriors

No. 1 Maryland 90, No. 2 UConn 82 - Elite Eight

When: March 24, 2002

Where: Carrier Dome - Syracuse, NY

Definitely the most hyped up matchup between the two schools, with the two teams squaring off in Syracuse with a Final Four trip on the line. However, UConn came up just short in this high-scoring affair. The Huskies rolled into the tournament hot as a No. 2 seed, coming off of a Big East Tournament championship win against Pittsburgh. Their path to the Elite Eight was defeating No. 15 seed Hampton 78-67, No. 7 seed NC State 77-74, and a surprise No. 11 seed Southern Illinois in the Sweet 16. Maryland, the No. 1 seed in the East region, reached this point by knocking off No. 16 seed Siena 85-70, destroying No. 8 seed Wisconsin 87-57, and putting away No. 4 seed Kentucky 78-68.

The game was truly a back-and-forth offensive showdown that featured a plethora of future NBA players. Maryland’s best player, senior guard Juan Dixon, scored 27 in the contest and continuously hit big shots to keep the Terrapins ahead. UConn’s freshman big and future All-American Emeka Okafor was in foul trouble for much of the game, which allowed senior center Lonnie Dixon to get easy bucket after easy bucket inside. Dixon finished the game with 29 points.

UConn almost had enough to pull off the upset, as sophomore Caron Butler carried the team with 32 points with 26 in the second half, but they ultimately came up short. The biggest shot of the game came when Maryland was up by three with 30 seconds to play. Senior guard Steve Blake found himself alone right beyond the arc and a simple patient fake sprung him free to hit a wide open 3-pointer, his only made field goal of the game, which put the game on ice.

Blake UConn

He hadn't scored all game. The play wasn't for him. Steve Blake didn't care. He hit the biggest shot of his Maryland career to clinch a second straight Final Four! March 24, 2002

Posted by Maryland Basketball on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Maryland went on to win their first and only championship after subsequently defeating Kansas in the Final Four, and then Indiana in the cational championship. Dixon, the ACC player of the year in 2002, was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player.

Future NBA Players featured in the game

UConn

Caron Butler - Drafted 10th overall by the Miami Heat

Ben Gordon - Drafted No. 3 overall in 2004 by the Chicago Bulls

Emeka Okafor - Drafted No. 2 overall in 2004 by the Charlotte Bobcats

Maryland

Juan Dixon - Drafted 17th overall in 2002 by the Washington Wizards

Lonnie Baxter - Drafted 43rd overall in 2002 by the Chicago Bulls

Steve Blake - Drafted 38th overall in 2003 by the Washington Wizards

Chris Wilcox - Drafted No. 8 overall in 2002 by the Los Angeles Clippers