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Before senior night game, Maryland's Ivan Bender proposes to longtime girlfriend

There was not much buzz surrounding Ivan Bender’s final home game at Maryland on Friday night.

The fifth-year senior forward, who was coming off his third knee surgery since he was 17, had barely played for the Terps this season and hadn’t taken his warmups in the six previous games.

It changed for Bender on senior night at Xfinity Center, and it had nothing to do with No. 24 Maryland’s regular-season finale against Minnesota.

It had to do with what Bender did before the game, and his taking a knee had nothing to do with the national anthem. He took a knee to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Andrea Knezevic, during the senior ceremonies.

The two have known each other since grade school growing up in their hometown of Capljina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and had dated since high school.

After being introduced to the crowd following fellow senior Andrew Terrell, whose parents and family members came out wearing his trademark towel around their necks, it was Bender’s turn.

As he and Knezevic made their way to center court, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon slipped Bender the box containing the engagement ring.

After the proposal, which was accompanied by a roar from the crowd, the newly engaged couple was surrounded by Bender’s teammates who celebrated as if he had just scored a winning basket.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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