DURHAM, N.C. -- Maryland and coach Gary Williams have been as tormented as anyone by Duke's blue-ribbon basketball program in the 1990s. Who would have thought that the Terps would be the one to bring an end to Duke's invincibility in the Atlantic Coast Conference?
Maryland came into Cameron Indoor Stadium last night as the second-hottest team in the ACC, but it had dropped six in a row to the Blue Devils since 1997, and the average margin of defeat in its last four trips here had been 16.8 points.
No. 23 Maryland put a stop to those trends and several historic ones last night, when it used balanced scoring and an inspirational performance from sophomore guard Juan Dixon to stun No. 3 Duke, 98-87. The Blue Devils' ACC record regular-season win streak is finished, at 31 games. To the delight of Williams, the Terps also ended Duke's 46-game home win streak.
Maryland (17-6, 6-4) had been 1-9 here in the Williams era, and he enjoyed that 1995 win from bed, as assistant Billy Hahn took over the Terps while the head coach had a bout with pneumonia. Duke (18-3, 9-1) had won 18 straight since November, the nation's longest streak, but a frenzied crowd of 9,314 was silenced by a game-ending, 15-4 run by the Terps.
"It was time," Williams said. "The big thing is that we wanted to prove that we can play in as probably as tough a place as there is. We're young, and I want these guys to believe that they can go into tough places and play."
Maryland does not have a scholarship senior on its team.
It does have the grittiest 152-pounder in college basketball in Dixon. The skinny sophomore guard from Baltimore's Calvert Hall matched his career high with 31 points on 14-for-19 shooting against the marking of Chris Carrawell, who is renowned as the best perimeter defender in the ACC.
Lonny Baxter, the sophomore center, had 22 points -- 14 in the first half -- 10 rebounds and a career-high six assists. When the ACC Player of the Week got into foul trouble, junior forward Terence Morris stepped forward with 18 of his 20 in the second half, including a pair of pivotal three-pointers that gave him the last laugh in his matchup with Shane Battier.
Sophomore forward Danny Miller matched career highs with 16 points in 38 minutes. He nailed all four of his three-pointers, all in the first half. Freshman point guard Steve Blake steered an attack that made 53.9 percent of its field-goal attempts, the best mark against the Blue Devils this season.
Every basket was needed, because Duke entered as the highest-scoring team in the nation. Maryland used its full-court pressure only twice, mixed its 3-2 zone with a straight man-to-man defense and did what Williams said couldn't be done -- beat the Blue Devils in a high-scoring game.
Coming off of its most emotional victory of the season, a comeback from dire circumstances against N.C. State, Maryland came out relaxed and confident offensively, a far cry from the team that lost to Duke by 10 in January, when the Terps made just 34.1 percent of their field-goal attempts, their worst shooting performance in more than four years.
"Maryland played a great basketball game," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They had high energy and really looked fresh and determined. We just couldn't stop them. My kids played hard, but they didn't have that edge."
Battier, who had 28 points, gave Duke a 79-76 lead with a left-handed drive, but the Terps shrugged and hopped on Dixon's back. He scored on a 15-footer from the left baseline, a pull-up jumper on a three-on-one break and then somehow boxed out Carrawell, who's three inches taller and 60 pounds heavier, for a put-back and an 82-79 lead with 5: 22 left.
"I was extremely tired, but I got my shoulders up in his chest on that one," Dixon said. "I tried to use my quickness against Chris, because he's a great defender."
Jason Williams got one last tie for Duke at 83 with 3: 45 left, but then Morris delivered.
Morris, who had shot 1-for-8 from the field in the first half and was getting shown up by Battier, came through with a pair of clutch three-pointers. The first was set up by Dixon, and the second by Miller. When Blake followed with a 14-footer from the right baseline with 1: 53 left, Maryland had an 8-0 run and a 91-83 lead.
Duke had only three team fouls at that point, and that worked against the Blue Devils.
Nate James got Duke within 91-85, but Maryland was able to work off more than 40 seconds of the clock before Dixon went to the line in the bonus situation. He missed the front end of the one-and-one, but Miller blocked a three-point attempt by Williams and Morris had an uncontested dunk for another eight-point cushion with 42 seconds left.