- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2002

The desire to beat Duke burns bright for Maryland Terrapins fans. Bright enough, apparently, to warm the hundreds who camped out two nights one outside, the other in a gym in order to get the first tickets that went on sale this morning for Sunday's showdown basketball game.
Terps fans began pitching tents as early as Sunday night, securing a spot in line to get the general admission tickets that went on sale at 8:30 a.m. today for Sunday's game between the No. 3-ranked Terps and No. 1-ranked Blue Devils.
Yesterday afternoon, the ticket line wrapped around Cole Field House and stretched past the tennis courts at the University of Maryland.
Those in line had skipped classes to play cards, toss footballs or chat about coach Gary Williams' early morning appearance. Williams, who has been known to order pizza for die-hard camping fans, shook hands and posed for pictures with the shivering souls Sunday night and yesterday morning.
Kevin Laroom, a 19-year-old pre-med and engineering major, was one several hooded, red-nosed students near the front of the line.
"It's worth it," Mr. Laroom said. "This is a historic year. You've got to be here. This is Cole Field's last year as the basketball stadium and this is a big rivalry. Duke is No. 1, but they won't be for long."
His friends were quick to agree, yelling out predictions and declarations of devotion:
"Duke's going down."
"We're going to crush 'em."
"This year's going to be different."
"People say we're crazy, but they're crazy for not being here in line for this game," said Mr. Laroom's friend, 19-year-old science major James Crawford. Mr. Crawford and his group of seven friends said they tried to study while waiting, but ended up goofing off with fellow campers.
"We were the 21st tent here," Mr. Laroom said.
In the middle of the line, which stretched hundreds of yards beyond the stadium, Marcello Doraclo, a 22-year-old communications major, had been out in the windy weather with his friends since 7:30 a.m. yesterday.
"You can't go to class on these kinds of occasions," Mr. Doraclo said. His non-camping friends had been periodically visiting to deliver food and blankets and to check out the tail-gate atmosphere.
"It's like a friendly community," Mr. Doraclo said. "It's a bunch of students hanging out. You go to a Dave Matthews concert and it's the same thing." Only not as cold.
At the end of the line, two blocks away, three grinning students had just arrived at about 3:15 p.m. yesterday with coolers, blankets and pillows in tow.
"We're ready for the long haul," Jared Putnam, a 20-year-old kinesiology major. The three, who said they couldn't afford to miss their morning classes, would only have to wait a few hours in the chilly wind as officials decided to move the campers inside at 7 p.m.
Police started patrolling the lines at 8 a.m. yesterday. They said there had been no problems with the sleeping-bag-clad students.


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