- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Lonny Baxter's campaign for All-American received a huge boost last night as the senior center dominated Connecticut to lead Maryland to the BB&T; Classic championship.
The third-ranked Terps downed the Huskies 77-65 to earn their sixth straight win at MCI Center. Baxter led the way with a powerful 24-point, 10-rebound performance, and even made eight of 10 free throws. The big man provided enough inside bang to allow slow-starting Juan Dixon to rally in the second half and finish with 16 points.
Maryland (6-1) earned its second consecutive BB&T; title by handing Connecticut (3-1) its first loss of the season. George Washington beat Princeton 60-57 in the consolation game.
Caron Butler led the Huskies with 20 points.
The Terps took charge at the start of the second half with six straight points to start a 16-4 run. Dixon started the stretch with a six-foot runner in the lane as he put behind a horrific first half in which he shot two of 13. A mid-range jumper by Tahj Holden (15 points) made it a six-point bulge, and a Baxter follow-up dunk gave Maryland a commanding 42-34 lead.
"In practice, we see that all the time," said Maryland coach Williams, of Baxter driving by defenders for layups. "I think that will come to his game as he gets more comfortable in games. He can put the ball on the floor."
Maryland kept running and used an eight-point run to build a 52-38 advantage. Steve Blake's alley-oop to Baxter provided the first basket. Two jumpers by Holden and a layin by Baxter bulked the lead up to 14.
The Huskies never got closer than seven the rest of the way. Ben Gordon's 3-pointer from the right corner cut the margin to 57-50 with just under 10 minutes remaining, but the Terps used a 12-5 run to supplement the lead. Baxter's two free throws gave Maryland a 64-53 lead.
"I haven't really faced up all season," Baxter said. "People always tell me you need to face up, you need to see everything. Coach is always telling me that, and I did tonight. I worked on it coming in here before the game, just seeing the whole court and really established myself down low."
The Terps led 36-36 after a wild, sloppy first half that featured 24 turnovers. Maryland came out on a furious pace, jumping to a 21-7 lead on a putback by Chris Wilcox that ended an 8-0 run by the Terps.
However, the Huskies answered with 13 straight points with a series of follow shots and layups. Taliek Brown started Connecticut's run with a layup in transition. Brown also ended the stretch with another layup to make it 21-20.
The Huskies started the game making two of 12 shots with seven turnovers, and did not convert a jump shot the entire half. Meanwhile, the Terps had 11 turnovers in the period and shot 32.5 percent, making two of 12 3-pointers. Dixon had a particularly dismal half, shooting 2-for-13 with four turnovers, although he made five steals.
Maryland built a 36-28 lead late in the period on a breakaway layup by Dixon. But the Huskies scored the final six points, with a short runner by Tony Robertson cutting the margin to two with just more than a minute remaining. Baxter had 12 points and seven rebounds in the half, while Butler paced Connecticut with 12.
"[Maryland] is obviously one of the best teams in the country because of their size and how they share the ball," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "[Baxter] gave [Emeka] Okafor some lessons. As impressed as I am with Baxter and Dixon, I am just as impressed with how Gary has them playing together."

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