DURHAM, N.C. -- University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams would like to come into Cameron Indoor Stadium one day on equal footing. Williams would like to have one day the talent and, most significantly, the depth of Duke. One day he might.
But not yet.
"They have the numbers," said Williams.
Yesterday, the numbers added up to a 101-81 victory for the sixth-ranked Blue Devils. It was the third straight Atlantic Coast Conference defeat for Maryland (12-10, 2-7) and the fifth straight victory for Duke (20-4, 8-2), its 10th win in the past 11 games.
The Terrapins were in the game for a while. Led by forwards Vince Broadnax (18 points) and Garfield Smith (16), Maryland pulled out to a surprising 29-22 lead with a little more than seven minutes left in the first half. But after senior center Cedric Lewis got into foul trouble, the Blue Devils closed the half with a 22-10 run.
"We were trying to keep them from making a run before the end of the half," said Williams. "We might have had the lead if we didn't get into foul trouble."
The Blue Devils played most of the first half as if their minds were elsewhere, specifically today's nationally televised meeting here with 19th-ranked LSU and 7-foot-1 sophomore center Shaquille O'Neal.
Duke committed 17 first-half turnovers -- a season-high 33 for the game -- but compensated for its sloppiness by hitting seven of nine three-point tries before halftime, 12 of 18 for the game. Christian Laettner led six Blue Devils in double figures with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
"I thought we were ready to play this game, but not in the way that we usually are," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "Physically, we were ready to play, but I don't think we were mentally."
Maryland, meanwhile, couldn't overcome its collective foul troubles. Aside from Lewis, sophomore point guard Kevin McLinton had three fouls with a little less than 12 minutes left in the half and sophomore forward Evers Burns had four with 5 minutes, 23 seconds to go in the half. Duke went into the 10-foul, two-shot bonus with 10:09 remaining in the half.
"I think it was called really tight," said Lewis, who picked up his fourth personal less than four minutes into the second half. "On my third foul, I was posting up and we've run that play all year. We [Lewis and Duke's Antonio Lang] were jockeying for position. But the refs are human. They might make mistakes."
So did Maryland. The Terps made the mistake of allowing Duke so much freedom to shoot from the outside, especially sophomore guard Bobby Hurley (four of six on three-pointers) and senior forward Greg Koubek (four of five). And with Lewis shackled by fouls, the Terps were left virtually defenseless inside, especially on the boards.
"We were ready to play today, but you can't allow a team in the ACC to have second chances at the basket," said Williams. "You have to play very well for 40 minutes, and we didn't do that."
Maryland stayed close for about 25. After a rebound follow by McLinton cut Maryland's deficit to 50-45, the Blue Devils went on a 14-3 run to get an unusually placid crowd at Cameron into the game. With the Terps cold at the foul line (14 of 30 for the game), Duke was able to build its lead twice to 25 points.
"We didn't play that well until the second half," said Hurley. "It took awhile, but we put things together."
Said Williams: "They're a very good team. When they come off the bench, they bring in some high school all-Americas. They just have a few more players to go to."
Some day, Williams might have the same luxury.
But not yet.