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March 3, 2002

Box Score | Video Highlights and Postgame Comments

AP Sports Writer

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Second-ranked Maryland ended its 47-year stay atCole Field House in grand fashion Sunday night, defeating Virginia 112-92 tofinish 15-0 at home and conclude the best regular season in school history.

Juan Dixon scored 23 points, Chris Wilcox had 21 points and 11 rebounds andLonny Baxter added 18 points for the Terrapins (25-3, 15-1 Atlantic CoastConference), who will move across campus next season into the new $101 millionComcast Center.

The ACC champs took the lead for good midway through the first half en routeto winning their 12th straight and eclipsing the 22-3 regular-season record ofthe 1974-75 squad.

Baxter had six points and Dixon added five as Maryland opened the secondhalf with an 18-6 run to go up 61-42, leaving the sellout crowd plenty of timeto savor the atmosphere of the final basketball game at the storied arena.

Chris Williams scored a season-high 28 points and Travis Watson had 20 forVirginia (17-10, 7-9), which was coming off an 87-84 upset of No. 3 Duke. Itwas the sixth straight road loss for the Cavaliers and their ninth successivedefeat at Cole.

The 17,100-seat Comcast Center will offer many of the amenities that Colenever had, such as air conditioning, luxury boxes and a replay screen.

But Cole Field House will be remembered not for what it lacked, but for whatit offered: wonderful sight lines from every seat. It was, quite simply, one ofthe best arenas in the country to watch a college basketball game.

“It looks like this place could go another 10 years, although it might nothave all the accommodations they’re looking for,” former Maryland star AlbertKing said before the game. “But you just can’t beat the feeling of hearingthose 14,500 people cheering.”

The gathering in the grand old building Sunday probably was closer to20,000, including dozens of alums. Buck Williams, Boomer Esiason, Len Elmore,Tom McMillen and Jim O’Brien – whose jumper gave Maryland a dramatic 31-30 winover No. 2 South Carolina at home in 1971 – all showed up to absorb one finalmemory.

The Terrapins finished 486-151 at Cole, closing out their stay the same waythey started it – with a win over Virginia. In the first game at the arena, onDec. 2, 1955, Maryland topped the Cavaliers 67-55.

In between those two games, Cole played host to two Final Fours and six NCAAregionals. It was the scene of one of the sport’s most significant games, whenan all-black Texas Western team beat Kentucky 72-65 to win the 1966 NCAAchampionship and shatter the color barrier in college basketball.

Before Sunday’s game got under way, there was another celebration: seniornight, marking the final home game for Baxter, Dixon, Byron Mouton and reserveEarl Badu.

Virginia stunned the crowd by taking a 19-14 lead, but Mouton scored sevenpoints in a 25-5 run that put Maryland up by 14. Undaunted, the Cavaliersclosed to 43-36 at halftime behind Williams, who scored eight points in a 12-4spree.

But it was all Maryland in the second half. The only suspense was who wouldscore the final points at Cole, the honor went to Maryland’s Andre Collins, whohit a 3-pointer in the final second.

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