Georgetown, No. 3 Maryland resume men’s basketball rivalry
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) The last time Georgetown and Maryland played a basketball game in the Washington area, coaches John Thompson and Gary Williams stood in front of their respective benches at the USAir Arena.
After Maryland won that memorable 1993 duel, 84-83 in overtime, Williams leaped across the floor in an impromptu victory celebration while Thompson walked off the court with his signature white towel draped over his shoulder.
Thompson retired in 1999, and his son – 49-year-old John Thompson III – has been the Hoyas' coach since 2004. Williams is also retired. And now there's a shopping mall where the arena used to stand.
Although Georgetown and Maryland are roughly 20 miles apart, a frosty relationship between the school's athletic departments kept this sometimes contentious rivalry dormant for 22 years.
No. 3 Maryland hosts the Hoyas on Tuesday night as part of the inaugural Gavitt Tipoff. The teams will meet again next year on Georgetown's home floor. Although the Hoyas and Terrapins squared off in the 2001 NCAA Tournament and the 2008 Old Spice Classic, two of the nation's most prominent teams are set to play in a home-and-home series for the first time since the 1970s.
''It's the talk of the town right now,'' Georgetown senior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera said. ''I'm looking forward to the matchup.''
The Hoyas are looking to bounce back after opening their season Saturday with a double-overtime loss to Radford, and this one is for bragging rights.
''That's a big rivalry,'' said Georgetown sophomore Tre Campbell, who grew up in Washington. ''We haven't really played each other in a while. I know a lot of people in the area really wanted to see that.''
Georgetown will face what might be Maryland's best team since Williams led the Terrapins to the 2002 national championship. Under the guidance of Mark Turgeon, who took over for Williams in 2011, Maryland opened a season of high expectations Friday night with an 80-56 win over Mount Saint Mary's.
''It's Georgetown, and a lot of people are talking about it,'' guard Melo Trimble said. ''I don't think we'll be nervous. I think we'll be super excited because, like I said, it's Georgetown.''
The atmosphere on the Maryland campus should be electric.
''I think Tuesday is going to be a lot of fun,'' Terps forward Jake Layman said. ''We're excited to go out there and play.''
Maryland versus Georgetown. Finally.
''It's a good thing,'' Thompson III said of the renewal of the rivalry. ''They have the best, or one of the best, teams in the country.''
Neither school has made a commitment to take the series beyond 2016, but no one's dismissed the possibility, either.
''We'll see,'' Thompson III said. ''As we have quickly learned the last several years, the whole landscape of college athletics, three years from now, could be completely different than it is right now. So we're not going to etch anything in stone, but I think both Mark Turgeon and I are pretty excited about it.''
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in Washington contributed to this report.