So many terrific Maryland teams never won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Leave it to the unlikeliest bunch of Terrapins to finally end a 20-year drought.
Maryland capped an improbable run through the tournament yesterday by beating No. 5 Duke, 95-87, in overtime in Greensboro, N.C., ending the top-seeded Blue Devils' run at five straight championships.
It was the first ACC tournament title for the sixth-seeded Terrapins (19-11) since 1984. Maryland had been to just one final since, in 2000 when the Blue Devils were in the early stages of their tournament dominance.
Duke (27-5) came into the tournament looking for its record sixth consecutive title and 15th overall.
Instead, the Blue Devils took their first ACC postseason loss since 1998 -- snapping a streak of 17 wins.
Maryland had tournament MVP John Gilchrist to thank for that.
The sophomore guard put together a terrific three-game stretch to help the Terps beat the Nos. 3, 2, and 1 seeds.
Gilchrist made the winning free throw in a quarterfinal win over No. 15 Wake Forest, he scored a career-high 30 points in a semifinal win over North Carolina State, and capped it with 26 points against Duke on 10-of-20 shooting.
Southeastern -- Chuck Hayes scored 23 points and eighth-ranked Kentucky romped to another conference tournament title, beating Florida, 89-73, in Atlanta. Kentucky (26-4) dismantled the Gators (20-10) for the second time in a week, following up a 20-point win at Rupp Arena to close the regular season.
The 25 tournament titles are more than the other schools in the conference combined, to go along with 42 regular-season championships. Contrast that with Florida, which fell to 0-4 in SEC tournament finals. The Gators are one of just two current members who have never won the tourney.
Big 12 -- Seventh-ranked Oklahoma State continued its combination of tenacious defense and athleticism to beat No. 11 Texas, 65-49, in Dallas and win their first Big 12 tournament title. Tony Allen scored 21 points and led a defense that held the Longhorns without a field goal for nearly 14 of the final 15 minutes, turning a 3-point game into a rout.
Texas (23-7) was down 16 points in the opening minutes, but chipped away to get within 42-39 with 14:48 left on a 3-point play by Jason Klotz. The Longhorns had hit 3-pointers on their two previous possessions.Oklahoma State (27-3) responded by turning up the defense. The Longhorns didn't make another field goal until a putback by James Thomas with 57 seconds left got them within 63-47.
Big Ten -- Devin Harris scored 29 points and Wisconsin held Illinois to a season-low 32.7 percent shooting to win its first tournament title, 70-53, in Indianapolis. Harris was 10 of 16 from the field and scored the No. 10 Badgers' first 11 points of the second half to help snap the 12th-ranked
Mike Wilkinson added 11 points and eight rebounds for Wisconsin (24-6), which led by as many as 21 points in the second half.
Patriot -- Jose Olivero hit a leaning jumper with 3.9 seconds remaining as Lehigh earned an NCAA Tournament bid with a 59-57 victory over American in the title game in Bethlehem, Pa. Tournament MVP Austen Rowland had 14 points and Jason Mgebroff added 13 for the Mountain Hawks (20-10), who won the tournament for the first time.
Division 2 Northeast Regional -- Forward Jason Noel pumped in 17 points to go with 11 rebounds as Bryant (23-9) advanced to Tuesday's final with a 64-60 victory over New York Tech in Lowell . . . Elad Inbar erupted for 25 points to power host UMass-Lowell into the final, 67-61, over Southern New Hampshire.