No. 3 Terps not worried about history or a rivalry, just looking for a win over Hoyas

Terps coach Mark Turgeon said they could've sold "50,000 or 60,000" tickets to the Maryland-Georgetown game.

There has been plenty of talk the past seven months about Tuesday's matchup at Xfinity Center between the men's basketball teams from Maryland and Georgetown, about how the two schools have not played each other in a big game since the 2001 NCAA tournament or scheduled each other since the first game of the 1993-1994 season.

That seems like ancient history to Terps coach Mark Turgeon's players, who are too young to remember what was once a fairly heated rivalry. Checking out YouTube for what Lonny Baxter or Joe Smith did in dominating performances is not something that the No. 3 ranked Terps have spent a lot of time doing since this nationally televised game was scheduled.

"We really weren't here to watch them play each other, for us now, we're just looking at it as a big game, of course because they're close to us," Maryland sophomore point guard Melo Trimble said Monday before practice. "As far as the history, we don't look at it like that."

Asked what he's heard about the rivalry, junior forward Robert Carter Jr. said, "I heard that we haven't played in a long time. The excitement around D.C., around Maryland, about this game, everyone asking for tickets. I don't have any tickets."

Turgeon hasn't found the inclination to talk to either his immediate predecessor, Hall of Famer Gary Williams, or another longtime former Maryland coach, Lefty Driesell, about what caused the rivalry to fade. Nor does Turgeon think of the inaugural Gavitt Tip-Off Games as a way to relaunch the rivalry.

"It will be for two years, that's what the contract is right now. Hopefully the fans will enjoy it and we'll make the most of it," said Turgeon, whose team will play Georgetown next season at the Verizon Center. "I don't know how many tickets we could have sold if we had a huge arena, but I think we could have sold 50,000 or 60,000 tickets for this game. It should get a lot of play [locally] and it should be a great college basketball game."

Some of the national interest might have waned after the Hoyas lost their season opener Saturday to Radford in double overtime at home. If anything, Turgeon and his players think Georgetown's shocking result might have made No. 3 Maryland's job harder come Tuesday.

"We watched, but just because they lost to Radford doesn't mean they're not going to bring their A game against us," Trimble said. "Any loss is going to make any team hungry and after losing and seeing us win probably makes them hungrier."

Said Turgeon: "It gets my attention because I know [Georgetown coach] John [Thompson III] has their attention for two days. You'd much rather play a team after they've won by 20 than lose a tough game. But because it's early, it's a big game, we'll be dialed in and ready. Georgetown will be even more focused because of what happened on Saturday."

Turgeon said he hasn't watched much of Georgetown since taking over at Maryland more than four years ago, mainly, he said, because, "I didn't think we were ever going to play them."

That was a reference to the aftermath of a public spat between the schools when Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson voiced his displeasure with the Hoyas three years ago for not scheduling the Terps in men's basketball. At the time, Anderson said that he would not schedule Georgetown in any sport until the Hoyas played the Terps in men's basketball.

Anderson is not the only Terp who got a little miffed at the Hoyas. More important to this game, so did Trimble.

"I didn't get an offer from Georgetown. After I went up there and visited all day and didn't get an offer, I kind of lost interest," Trimble said Monday.

Trimble admitted to having friends on the Georgetown team — specifically fellow sophomore guard Tre Campbell — and understands how big a game it is. So does Carter, who played with or against most of the Hoyas in the Kenner Summer League the past two years at the campus gym.

Asked if he can give his teammates a scouting report on the Hoyas, Carter said, smiling, "I think that's coach's job. His scouting report will be a little better than mine."

Carter, who after two promising seasons at Georgia Tech fell off the radar during his year sitting out at Maryland, is hoping to have the kind of performance Smith did as a freshman in his college debut in 1993 or like Baxter did as a junior in 2001 during Maryland's NCAA tournament run to its first Final Four.

Admittedly, he hasn't studied either — at least not yet.

"Not too much history. I can feel the excitement around here to know that it's an important game and it's a must-win, like all games in my opinion," Carter said. "It doesn't matter who I play against. I want to win. We're just trying to focus on our game. Maybe after we win, I'll go back and look at all the other games."

There might even be a brand-new YouTube clip for Carter to watch.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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