Head coach Gary Williams and players from the 2001-02 team look back at five key moments from the Terps’ championship run.

All memories were told to Glenn Clark or Luke Jackson.

Maryland defeated Virginia, 112-92, in the last game ever played at Cole Field House, where the Terps had played since 1955. Scores of former players returned to Cole for the game. What did that night mean to everyone?

Gary Williams

That was big for me. Having played there, the last game was hard to believe. Cole was Cole. That was where we played at the University of Maryland since the mid-’50s. To play as well as we did — we had [112 points] against a good Virginia team. The crowd just never stopped from the moment the ball went up by the referee to start the game. It was as loud as it ever was in Cole. I think we had most of the living Maryland basketball players back, plus Lefty [Driesell] was back. I think he was back. Bud Millikan, my coach, was back, all those things. It was special, and it was a great way to go to the NCAA Tournament from there. But you hated to see Cole close. There’s never been a better place to play college basketball. Most people will tell you that it was just phenomenal. If I had to win one game, it would definitely be Cole Field House.

Juan Dixon

The energy in the building was crazy. We were closing a historic building that meant so much, not just to University of Maryland basketball but meant so much to college basketball. We had some historic games in that building. For us to be able to go out with a bang like that against a very good UVA team that had NBA players, we put up 112 points in regulation, 40-minute game, with high-level talent on both sides. Just to have everyone back in the building that night — all the greats, coaches, players. The [ceremonial] passing of the basketball from one end of the floor to the other was a beautiful moment that I will never forget. … On top of that, it was Senior Night for Lonny, for Byron Mouton, for myself, [who had all] played some great games in that building. For us to be able to close it like that was awesome.

Lonny Baxter

We came out and we just jumped on Virginia from the jump ball. … Closing out Cole Field House, that’s the way we wanted our fans to remember us playing at Cole Field House. I miss Cole Field House dearly. I won a high school city title there and going to play there for four years, it was just great and we closed it out the right way, the way we should have.

Chris Wilcox

That was a big night. For all the history that Cole Field House had, with that and us being able to finish it off [with] an undefeated season in Cole Field House, I think that was the way to close the doors in there. Playing against Virginia that night, that was a good game, too. Roger Mason was going off that game. I felt like once we got that and we finished up at home strong, undefeated at Cole Field House, that right there did something to our whole program because it was like, “We finished up at home, now let’s go finish up on the road.”

Byron Mouton

For me, Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter, we were seniors. That is the last college home game at the university for us. There were so many emotions involved — Senior Night, shedding little tears, man. Love my teammates and it’s the last time we’re going to play together in a home game and to play the last game at Cole Field House and get that win against another rival team [in] Virginia, it was just so much emotions surrounding that game and me, Lonny and Juan being seniors that night.

Andre Collins

With regards to me hitting the last shot, I almost got in trouble because I wasn’t supposed to take that shot. It’s something that’s pretty cool, something I can share with my kids. I know a lot of people on the Eastern Shore, a lot of people in my hometown of Crisfield, they’re thrilled to share that part of history with me. It’s been pretty cool to have that follow me up to this point of my life since playing at Maryland. … Initially, I’m thinking just to dribble that ball out because Gary was telling me to hold it. But then I had my teammates on the bench telling me to shoot it. I guess I listened to the guys like Juan and Lonny and those guys. I listened to them to shoot the shot, and it went in. If you look at the end of the play … you can see Gary is a little upset on the side because I took that shot. But he was pretty cool the next day. I actually had to go into the basketball office, and I saw him. I’m thinking like, “Man, I’m in trouble.” [He] was pretty cool, just said, “Andre Collins, last shot in Cole,” or “man of the hour,” something like that. He said it in a joking way.

Mike Grinnon

In real time, you don’t realize the magnitude of what’s taking place. I think that’s par for the course for the last game at Cole against Virginia that even now I have pictures of that game. To be there and a part of it, in closing a chapter of that history, in the moment you don’t realize the memories that you’re making. … If you talk to any of the players, there’s a little bit of an internal code, so to speak, of what it’s like practicing in Cole Field House in the offseason, of how much of a hot box it is because the air conditioning was so bad. It was such a tough place for conditioning that when we stepped into the new arena, we felt like, “Wow, this is big time!” But in a way, it was a changing of an era because Cole was so special just because of obviously the history, but the way the court felt, the way the workouts felt. It was different.

See Also:
2001 Final Four Loss To Duke
Beating Duke At Cole In 2002
Elite Eight Win Against UConn
The Final Buzzer Sounds

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Issue 273: February/March 2022

Originally published Feb. 16, 2022

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