Terps beat writer Don Markus on the Maryland's men's basketball team's win over Georgetown and the possibility of the two school continuing the rivalry. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
WASHINGTON — Maryland and Georgetown started the 1993-94 season playing each other for the first time since the 1980 NCAA tournament mainly because of some bad blood between Hoyas coach John Thompson Jr. and former Terps coach Lefty Driesell.
When the Terps won on a last-second shot in overtime by Duane Simpkins at USAir Arena, Thompson declined to return the game the following year to College Park, where Gary Williams was going into his sixth season. A furious comeback by Maryland -- 14 points down with 12 minutes to go -- had forced overtime.
The two schools located less than 15 miles apart didn't play again in a regularly scheduled game until last season.
Now comes the obvious question: Will Maryland's 76-75 comeback victory at Verizon Center on Tuesday night -- where the Terps came from nine points down in the final 2:21 and freshman Kevin Huerter preserved the lead with a block with two seconds to go -- trigger another interruption in the rivalry?
The game was the second of a two-year deal in conjunction with the Gavitt Tipoff Games between the Big Ten and Big East, with Maryland also winning last season, 75-71 at Xfinity Center, in another come-from-behind win that was a lot less dramatic but no less exciting.
While Verizon Center wasn't sold out, and there seemed to be just as many Maryland fans there as Georgetown fans (or at least their voices were just as loud), it was a great college basketball atmosphere that should have a chance to repeat itself every year.
"I loved the arena at the end – 'Let's go Maryland, let's go Georgetown' – I thought that was really cool," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said.
If Kentucky can play Louisville every year after a long stretch when the two heated rivals tried everything to avoid each other, if Butler can play Indiana on a regular basis, then the Terps and Hoyas should find a way onto each other's schedule each season.
Georgetown coach John Thompson III doesn't seem thrilled by that prospect. Prior to the game, Thompson said he would rather ease his way into the schedule than play such an emotionally heated game so early.
"In a perfect world, this is not a game I want to play at this time of year," he said afterward.
Asked if he'd like to see the rivalry continue, Thompson said, "[Turgeon] and I will talk. We'll see."
Turgeon, whose wild postgame celebration and dance on the court was reminiscent of the celebration Williams had after the 1993 game, was equally evasive when the prospect of continuing the series was raised after Tuesday's game.
"We're going to enjoy tonight," he said. "For us, we've been on the lucky side the last two years. At the eight-minute timeout, both years they've been up six or eight and we've been able somehow to win the game, so let us enjoy it. But that's down the road."
Hopefully it won't be as long a road as it was the last time.