The memories of last-second shots by former Michigan State standouts Korie Lucious and Paul Davis are still painfully clear for many Maryland basketball fans going into Tuesday's Big Ten opener against the Spartans at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.
The 3-pointer by Lucious came in the 2010 NCAA tournament second round in Spokane, Wash., after one of his teammates ducked as he took a long inbounds pass. It ruined a gallant comeback for the Terps and ended the career of several Maryland players, most notably Greivis Vasquez.
The bank shot in the lane by Davis -- and a subsequent miss at the top of the key by Steve Blake -- ended Maryland's reign as national champion in the Sweet 16 at the Alamodome in San Antonio in 2003. Earlier in the tournament, Drew Nicholas hit his own game-winning shot for the Terps against North Carolina-Wilmington.
"It was ironic, in that game, Michigan State didn't go near Blake because they were afraid to foul him in that situation, and we didn't go near the Michigan State kid [Lucious in 2010] when he took the 3," Hall of Fame Maryland coach Gary Williams recalled Monday.
Williams has said the 2010 loss was among the most difficult in his career, right up there with Maryland blowing a 22-point lead and losing to Duke in the 2001 national semifinal at the Metrodome in Minnesota, as well as the last-minute collapse to the Blue Devils at Cole Field House earlier that season.
"We did everything we could to come back to win that game, against a good defensive team like Michigan State," said Williams, whose team trailed by 16 points in the second half. "To have a chance to win it in the end was very gratifying, but at the same time, it was very tough. To watch Greivis play the way he did in that game, I thought he deserved to play another game."
Said Izzo: "We just got lucky at the end. It was a tough loss because he had that great point guard, Vasquez, and they had a special relationship like I had with [Mateen] Cleaves. It was one of those games when you're shaking the other coach's hand and you're almost apologizing."
That loss might have cost Williams another chance at a national championship. It was the last of Williams' 14 NCAA tournament appearances in his 22-year career at Maryland.
"The way the bracket evolved, we could have gone to the Final Four. There were some upsets, I know that Michigan State played Northern Iowa in their next game," Williams said.
Ironically, Williams' successor was also in Spokane that afternoon. Mark Turgeon was getting his Texas A&M team ready for its game against Purdue.
Though he didn't see the last-second shot by Lucious, he heard the aftermath, since the Aggies' dressing room was sandwiched between the Terps' and the Spartans'.
"When I was watching a little bit of it, it looked like the game was over, Maryland was done," Turgeon recalled Monday. "Then Greivis did his deal. ... It was unfortunate for Maryland, but what a great comeback. There's a reason Greivis is in the NBA doing what he's doing."
Turgeon said Williams accidently walked into the Texas A&M locker room and quickly walked out.
Williams didn't recall that.
"I probably did a lot of things I didn't remember after that game," Williams joked Monday.
A little more than two hours later, Turgeon felt a similar emotion when Aggies guard B.J. Holmes missed a potential 3-point game-winning shot in overtime.
"I thought we were going to be that team, but we weren't, it rimmed out," Turgeon said. "It was a bad day for me, too."
Williams, whose 2006-07 team beat the Spartans handily at Madison Square Garden, said the rivalry with Michigan State "was as good any we had nonconference, we had some good ones with Illinois when Bill Self was there in the '90s."
Izzo said he enjoyed matching wits with Williams.
"We had some wars," Izzo said Monday. "Gary is one of my favorite guys of all-time. He was a coach's coach. He won with good players, but he didn't have McDonald's All-Americans and yet he competed with everybody. He epitomizes what I would like to be thought of as a coach when it's all said and done."