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One Shining ACC Moment

Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page G08

To understand how improbable Maryland's three-day run in the 2004 ACC tournament was, rewind to mid-February of last year. The Terrapins were 13-10 and in danger of missing their first NCAA tournament in a decade. The ACC quarterfinal round was so stacked it was nicknamed "Bloody Friday." And there was Maryland, showing up with a 7-9 conference record, a No. 6 seed and the youngest team in the nation's best conference.

First, the Terps knocked off third-seeded Wake Forest when John Gilchrist's free throw gave them an exhausting 87-86 victory. The next day, Maryland stormed back from a 19-point halftime deficit to beat second-seeded North Carolina State, 85-82. And in the final against Duke, a 95-87 overtime victory, Gilchrist scored 26 points to lead the Terps to their 11th straight berth in the NCAA tournament and their first ACC tournament title since Lefty Driesell's team won in 1984.

The underdog Terps stuck together in last season's title run. (John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)

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"I would say no one has ever had a better three games" in the ACC tournament, Maryland Coach Gary Williams said of Gilchrist. "There has been as good, but not better."

As Travis Garrison concluded, "This is history, right here."

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