Terps snip Duke home string at 46

Dixon's 31 points deal Devils first ACC loss in 32 games, 98-87

15-4 close quiets Cameron

Baxter offsets Battier

`off' Morris hits late 3s

February 10, 2000|By PAUL MCMULLEN | PAUL MCMULLEN,SUN STAFF

DURHAM, N.C. -- Who would have thought that Maryland would bring an end to Duke's invincibility in the Atlantic Coast Conference?

The Terps came into Cameron Indoor Stadium last night as the second-hottest team in the ACC, but they had dropped six in a row to the Blue Devils since 1997, and the average margin of defeat in their 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 got a lift from its big three of Juan Dixon, Terence Morris and Lonny Baxter, and stunned No. 3 Duke, 98-87. The Blue Devils' ACC record regular-season win streak is finished, at 31 games. To the delight of coach Gary 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 games since November, 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 for us 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."

Dixon had another courageous performance for the Terps, as 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.

Baxter, the sophomore center, had 22 points, 14 in the first half, and when he got into foul trouble, Morris stepped forward with 18 of his 20 in the second half, including the go-ahead three-pointers. Sophomore forward Danny Miller matched his career high with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting, and freshman point guard Steve Blake steered an attack that made 53.9 percent of its field-goal attempts, the best mark against Duke 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, and took its chances against the Blue Devils' half-court 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."

Down 79-76 after a left-handed drive by Shane Battier (28 points) with seven minutes left, the Terps shrugged and hopped on Dixon's back. He shouldered the load, as he scored on a 15-footer from the left baseline, a pull-up jumper on a 3-on-1 break and then somehow boxed out Carrawell, who's three inches taller and 60 pounds heavier, for a putback 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 a tie for Duke at 83 on a driving basket with 3: 45 left, but 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 1-and-1, but Miller blocked a three-point attempt by Williams and Morris had an uncontested dunk for a 93-85 cushion with 42 seconds left.

After Morris hit the first of two free throws with 24.4 seconds left, he put a finger to his lips, telling the Cameron Crazies it was time to shut up. Baxter borrowed the move at the conclusion, as a contingent of a hundred or so Maryland fans vented after so many lopsided losses to Duke.

"It's crazy to play that well, and still have it go down to the wire," Williams said.

Neither team led by more than seven through the first 38 minutes of a back-and-forth contest. Maryland was on top for much of the game, until Baxter drew his fourth foul, three in a little over two minutes. The Terps, however, responded quite nicely to that adversity.

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