For good reason, Duane Simpkins can remember the last regularly scheduled Maryland-Georgetown game "like it was yesterday." The former Terps point guard also has clear memories of his game-winning shot to beat the Hoyas in overtime at USAir Arena when Simpkins was a sophomore.
"A floater over Don Reid," Simpkins said Wednesday.
There has been 22 years worth of yesterdays that have elapsed since these two former longtime rivals met in a regularly scheduled men's basketball game. That will change on Nov. 17, when Maryland will host Georgetown at Xfinity Center as part of the inaugural Gavitt Tipoff Games.
The Terps and Hoyas have played twice since, both times in tournaments. In 2001, Maryland won, 76-66, in the Sweet 16 of the 2001 NCAA tournament in Boise, Idaho, en route to the program's first Final Four. In 2008, Georgetown won, 75-48, in the third-place consolation game of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.
Simpkins, now an assistant coach at North Carolina-Greensboro, had a typical reaction to many college basketball fans who grew up in the area, as the former DeMatha star and McDonald's All-American did in Prince George's County. "It's about time," he said.
"It makes perfect sense. I don't know how you say it's [still] a rivalry because they don't play consistently, but from the standpoint of having two high-profile programs that traditionally have been really good and both have won national championships and are 30 minutes away, it makes for good basketball in the DC area."
In 1993, the Terps entered the Georgetown game coming off what turned out to be their only losing season under Gary Williams. The addition of freshmen Joe Smith and Keith Booth to the previous recruiting class that featured Simpkins, Johnny Rhodes and Exree Hipp gave Maryland hope of a turnaround.
The Hoyas came into the game ranked 15th in the country and led by All-American candidate Othella Harrington. "High energy," Simpkins recalled of the atmosphere. "I was actually really surprised that the Maryland fans dominated the building. I don't think it was capacity, but there were a lot of people there. It was either the day after Thanksgiving something like that. I was surprised that there were so many people out."
Smith served notice of his future college stardom, outplaying Harrington and finishing with 26 points, nine rebounds and three steals. "Othella was good," Simpkins said of Harrington, who had 16 points and 15 rebounds. "But Joe was better."
The victory also helped the Terps, who overcame a 14-point deficit in the last 12 minutes of regulation. Maryland wound up getting its first NCAA tournament bid in five years –- its first under Williams, who had returned to his alma mater in 1989 -– and advancing to the Sweet 16.
The victory over Georgetown –- the first time the Hoyas had lost a season home opener in John Thompson's first 23 years -- served notice of a turnaround in College Park.
"It shows our program what we can be," Williams said at the time. "For too long at Maryland, we haven't known what we could be."