This time, Lefty Driesell was right.
With Ben Coleman scoring a collegiate-high 27 points and Adrian Branch 26, Maryland upset No. 3 UCLA, 80-79, in double overtime last night before a sellout of 14,500 that kept Cole Field House in a Terrapin tizzy all night long.
So revenge came, after all. Just like Driesell, the Maryland coach, said it would. It was a revenge generated by UCLA's 90-57 blowout of Maryland last season. "When a guy whups you the first time, you want to whup him the second time," said Driesell.
UCLA (6-1) could not establish its running game. In fact, it couldn't establish much of anything. The game's tempo was gentle. And the Bruins don't like it that way.
"We started so slow. I don't know why," said UCLA guard Rod Foster, who scored 22 points. "These things just happen."
This one almost didn't happen for the Terrapins (5-2); UCLA had several chances to win. "But there was an air about this game," said Maryland guard Jeff Adkins. "It seemed we were destined to win."
First, UCLA had the chance to win the game in regulation. With the score tied at 61, Bruins' guard Ralph Jackson missed an eight-footer in the lane with four seconds left. The rebound was tapped to Atkins, whose half-court shot bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Next, UCLA had a chance to win at the end of the first overtime. With the score tied at 65, Maryland stalled 1:03 off the clock until six seconds remained. That is when Branch missed a 15-footer.
On the rebound, UCLA's Kenny Fields was fouled by forward Pete Holbert with two seconds left. It wasn't a smart foul.
Fields, a 70 percent free throw shooter, could have ended the game, ended all that talk of revenge, by making the free throws. "But a lot of strange things happen in Cole Field House," Branch said.
On the bench, Driesell told his team Fields would miss the free throw.
Again, Lefty was right.
Fields bounced the free throw off the rim and the Terrapins rebounded as the clock ran out on overtime No. 1. "I had my rhythm. The ball just went off course," said Fields, who scored a team-high 23 points.
The Terrapins began the second overtime on a 9-2 streak and took a 74-67 lead with 2:02 left. Forward Mark Fothergill, who scored 14 points, had six in the streak. The genesis of Fothergill's cool in the clutch? "Pride and poise," he said.
But the Bruins kept after the Terrapins. Fields made three straight jumpers, the last a 15-footer that pulled UCLA to 79-77 with 14 seconds left. Then UCLA stole the inbound pass, but Fields quickly missed a short jumper from the base line that could have tied the score.
Maryland forward Herman Veal rebounded Fields' miss and was fouled with nine seconds left. Veal made the first free throw, giving Maryland an 80-77 lead.
Veal missed the second free throw; the UCLA outlet went to Foster, who dribbled the length of the court for the layup that closed the score to 80-79 with two seconds left.
UCLA was out of timeouts. As the clock expired, the Bruins were out of luck and out of the ranks of the undefeated, too.
Coleman was 11 for 12 from the field, got 12 rebounds and "came into his own tonight," Driesell said. Coleman, a 6-foot-9 forward-center, went to the left, to the right, and right through 7-foot center Stuart Gray most of the night.
"The way UCLA beats you is by stealing the ball and getting layups off their pressure defense," said Fothergill. "We didn't let them do that tonight. When they have to play half-court defense, they are just a good team."
And not the great team that has beaten De Paul, Louisiana State, Iowa and Notre Dame. The Bruins committed only five turnovers (Maryland committed 16). The Bruins had good shots; they just missed them. UCLA shot 47 percent from the field, Maryland 57 percent. "Nothing worked," said Fields.
How big was this victory for Maryland? "Bigger than Wake Forest and Virginia last year. The biggest ever," said Adkins, who scored 11 points despite having his broken left index finger taped tightly.
As Driesell pranced across the court afterwards, Branch said he hadn't seen his coach that emotional in a long time. "Not since we lost to UCLA last year," Branch said, smiling.