Originally created 04/02/02

Coach finally claims a title



ATLANTA - The team that could never win the big one beat the program that never lost the big one.

The Maryland Terrapins, without so much as an ACC Tournament title in 13 seasons under head coach Gary Williams, cleaned the slate with a 64-52 victory over Indiana in the NCAA Championship Game on Monday night at the Georgia Dome.

Indiana (25-12) lost for the first time in six NCAA championship game appearances after an improbable run to the title game that included victories over Duke and Oklahoma.

Senior guard Juan Dixon stepped up when Maryland (32-4) needed him most, ending a dry spell of 20:20 with a 3-pointer immediately after Indiana took its only lead of the night at 44-42 with 9:53 left. A fadeaway Dixon jumper with 8:10 left started a 17-3 run that clinched the championship.

Mr. Dixon's 18-point effort capped an MVP postseason performance that pushed his NCAA Tournament career scoring total to 294 - ninth on the all-time list.

Just one year after the school's first Final Four appearance, Maryland staked out its own piece of basketball history by beating four teams in succession - Kentucky, Connecticut, Kansas and Indiana - that hold 15 combined NCAA championships.

The top-seeded Terrapins took the hardest road possible to the championship game, beating seeds of 16, 8, 4, 2 and 1 before matching up with the fifth-seeded Hoosiers from the South Region. The Terps also became just the fifth school to claim both an NCAA basketball and football championship.

Reach Scott Michaux at (706) 823-3219 or scott.michaux@augustachronicle.com.