Adrenaline now flows through the Maryland Terrapins after their defeat of No. 3 UCLA, 80-79, in double overtime Thursday night at Cole Field House.
It was revenge on the surface. It was rejuvenation in the hearts.
"We knocked on the door a little bit," is how Maryland forward Adrian Branch, who scored 26 points, put it yesterday.
"We're at the 50-50 point now. Are we for real or are we mediocre? Now, we'll find out. We have to develop consistency or all this will go down the drain."
Before the victory over the Bruins (6-1), Maryland's record was mediocre; now, the Terrapins are a meteoric 5-2. Upsetting UCLA can do that to a team's spirits.
"One of our team managers told me that if we had beaten Penn State and St. Joseph's (Maryland's two losses), we'd be ranked No. 1 in the country right now," Coach Lefty Driesell said yesterday.
These days, anything is possible in college basketball. With No. 1 Virginia, No. 2 Kentucky and No. 3 UCLA losing within two nights, it seems nothing is a certainty.
Only this: "Lefty Driesell is the best motivator in the country," said guard Jeff Adkins, who scored 11 points and had poise aplenty against UCLA's full-court press.
Driesell did a masterful job of keeping hunger in his Terrapins' souls. He kept reminding his team about UCLA's 90-57 victory over the Terrapins last year. He told the media that if UCLA won, "The Bruins would have to leave some blood on the floor."
Although UCLA forward Kenny Fields said, "That was a pretty immature thing for a grown man to say," he noted, "Maryland was just so pumped up and we were flat. I don't really know what was going on on the court. I don't think anybody did."
Only Driesell. "We never got into a running game with them," he said. "We played the game at our pace."
A terrapin is a turtle and this was played at a turtle's pace. Maryland led, 33-28, at the half. Maryland center Ben Coleman scored 14 of his game-high 27 points in the first half.
But Maryland knew UCLA would come back. "A good team doesn't sleepwalk all day," Branch said.
With the score tied at 61, UCLA had a chance to win in regulation, but guard Ralph Jackson's eight-footer in the lane missed with four seconds left.
Tied at 65, UCLA had a chance to win at the end of the first overtime. Maryland stalled more than a minute off the clock, but Branch missed a 15-footer with six seconds left. On the rebound, Fields was fouled by Pete Holbert with two seconds left, but he missed the front end of the one-and-one.
At the start of the second overtime, forward Mark Fothergill (14 points, five of five from the field) scored six points in a 9-2 run, giving Maryland a 74-67 lead with 2:02 left.
UCLA closed to 79-77 with 14 seconds left after Fields made his third straight jumper. UCLA stole the inbounds pass, but Rod Foster missed a hurried shot from the base line. Maryland's Herman Veal rebounded and was fouled with nine seconds left.
Veal made his first free throw and Maryland led, 80-77. After Veal missed his second, Foster drove in for a layup with two seconds left.
UCLA had no timeouts remaining. As the clock ran out of time, Driesell ran out on the court, doing a victory jitterbug.
Moments after last year's loss to the Bruins, Driesell stood in a Pauley Pavilion corridor and said, "If we played them 1,000 times, they would win every one. We have to change this."
With change now accomplished, Driesell turned modest for the moment yesterday and said of the upset: "This was just one game. There is still a long way to go in the season."