As March Madness gets underway, the Maryland Terrapins came up victorious while Virginia suffered a heartbreaking upset.
Meanwhile, D.C.’s Howard University, making its first appearance in the tournament since 1992, gave a valiant effort against Kansas, but the Bison were overmatched by the defending national champions.
Here is what you need to know about all the D.C.-area teams that played on day one of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
South Bracket: No. 8 Maryland defeats No. 9 West Virginia 67-65
After a rocky start in their first appearance in the dance after missing it last year, the Maryland Terrapins found a way to pull away from West Virginia for a thrilling 67-65 victory.
It was Maryland’s largest comeback win of the season as they trailed by as many as 13 points.
Julian Reese led the team with 17 points and nine rebounds. Hakim Hart had 15 points, including a steal and dunk that put the Terps ahead with 3:44 remaining.
“It just shows our character,” said Hart. “We’re going to keep fighting.”
It was the seventh meeting between the two schools since 1987 and they did not disappoint. It was impressive win for a Terrapins team that only won 11 Big Ten games this season.
In the second round, Maryland will face top-seeded Alabama — one of the favorites to win the national championship.
Read more on Maryland’s victory here.
South Bracket: No. 4 Virginia loses to No. 13 Furman 68-67
Virginia busted the majority of March Madness brackets after losing to Furman University — who is in the tournament for the first time in 43 years — 68-67 in an exciting affair.
JP Pegues hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left for the Paladins to win their first tournament game since 1974, knocking UVA out of the dance in the process. His shot came off after an ill-timed Kihei Clark pass was intercepted by Garrett Hien, leaving to Pegues’ shot.
The winning shot was Pegues’ only 3 of the game.
“This is part of the game. I’ve used this line before, but when you step between the lines, you take the good and you take the hard with it. You try to handle them both with dignity and respect,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said.
The Cavaliers led by as many as 10 points in the first half and 12 points in the second half while shooting 2 of 12 from the 3-point line.
Ironically, the upset came on the five-year anniversary of Virginia’s shocking tournament loss to No. 16 UMBC.
The Paladins advanced to the second round in the South Region, where they will play fifth-seeded San Diego State on Saturday.
Read more on Virginia’s shocking loss here.
West Bracket: No. 16 Howard falls to No. 1 Kansas 96-68
The Howard Bison, in their first NCAA tournament since 1992, was no match for the defending champions as they fell 96-68 to Kansas.
The historically Black university’s team had their work cut out for them against the Jayhawks, and it didn’t help that it only shot 39% from the field and turned the ball over 18 times.
Yet, Howard did not make it easy for the defending champions, taking the lead five times in the first half.
Shy Odom had 15 points and eight rebounds and Steve Settle III added 13 points for the Bison (22-13), who were making the program’s first tournament appearance since 1992 in front of Vice President Kamala Harris, a Howard alumna.
Coach Kenneth Blakeney, whose team went 4-29 in his first season in 2019-20, brought a confident team to the tournament. Elijah Hawkins hit an early 3-pointer and pointed a finger to his forearm to signal ice in his veins. Kobe Dickson flexed his right arm after muscling in a layup.
The Bison just weren’t able to match the Jayhawks’ speed and athleticism.
“When you play a team like Kansas, they capitalize on all of our mistakes,” Settle said. “We left a lot of meat on the bone in the first half.”
The Bison finished the season making the dance for the first time since the George H.W. Bush administration — finishing the season at 22-13. One of the team’s highlights was beating Norfolk State to win the MEAC championship.
Read more about Kansas vs. Howard here.
WTOP’s Dave Preston and the Associated Press contributed to this report.