Only one election was close for Big Tom.
That first congressional election in the 4th district of Maryland was oh so close. It’s the 1986 battle between Republican Robert McNeal and rookie Democrat Charles Thomas McMillan. Certainly the tallest candidate was the Democrat. McMillan stood 6-foot-11. Yes, the big recruit of Maryland coach Lefty Driesell. He was one of the guys who put Maryland basketball on the map.
He came to College Park during the 1971-72 season and immediately found a home. That was the year we ran away and hid in the NIT. He easily led this 27-game winner with a 20.8 scoring average. He was nearly an 82 percent free throw shooter and was second to Lenny Elmore with his 9.6 rebounds a game.
The following season, Maryland won 23 games and fell to Providence in the second round of the NCAA regional. McMillan played in three less games than the year before but still paced the Terps with a 21.2 scoring average.
On Christmas of 1973, Maryland was ranked second in the United States. That was the year we took an 11-game winning streak before falling to David Thompson and NC State in the ACC Final. McMillan surrendered the school scoring title to John Lucas that season but still averaged 19.4 points a game.
He went to play 11 seasons of NBA hoops. He also played in the heart-breaking loss to the Russians in the 1972 Olympics. A Rhodes Scholar, McMillan was a great addition to Maryland athletics. He served three terms in the US Congress.
Now on to this year’s team. These up and down Terps made some progress by knocking off Florida State, 83-71 on Feb. 8. Sophomore Seth Allen had a breakout game with 32 points. This win was important because the previous time we played the Seminoles, they plastered us by 24 points.
So what happened against the Tar Heels? Down 17-0? That’s not cool. In better news, Maryland came back at North Carolina on Feb. 4. Dez Wells led the offense with 18 points.
On Feb. 10, Maryland fought hard against nationally-ranked Virginia. Jake Layman got poked in the eye and we fell 61-53. It was the Cavaliers’ 20th win of the season.
Allen had 15 points and Wells added 12.
It doesn’t get easier for this 14-game winner. Duke, Wake Forest and top-ranked Syracuse are on the upcoming schedule.