Duke runs past UM

No. 3 Terps melt down in 2nd half, fall, 99-78, to top-ranked Devils

J. Williams' 34 lead Duke

Up 1 at half, Maryland sinks to 1st ACC loss

Dixon is held to 10

January 18, 2002|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

DURHAM, N.C. - Duke's highly touted players showed up in full force last night, while Maryland's best player struggled in the face of matchup problems and a cold shooting hand.

As a result, the top-ranked Blue Devils, behind superb efforts from junior guard Jason Williams and junior forward Mike Dunleavy, turned a tense, close, much-anticipated Atlantic Coast Conference contest into a 99-78 rout over the No. 3 Terps before a sellout crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Maryland, which was too sloppy with the ball down the stretch and unable to contain Dunleavy, never got star senior guard Juan Dixon untracked. Dixon finished with a season-low 10 points on 2-for-9 shooting. He scored only four points at the foul line in the second half and typified an impatient, ineffective Maryland offense that did not convert a field goal over the game's final eight minutes.

Williams, who burned the Terps all night with explosive drives to the basket, had a game-high 34 points. Dunleavy, who took advantage of post-up opportunities against smaller defenders like Dixon and guard Drew Nicholas, scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half and recorded a game-high seven steals, as the Blue Devils put together a game-ending, 26-8 run after Maryland closed to 73-70 with 10:28 to go.

Maryland (13-3, 3-1) ended a five-game winning streak and was denied a chance to win its third straight game at Cameron and possibly achieve a No. 1 ranking for the first time. The Terps fell apart in crunch time by committing a slew of their 21 turnovers. Dixon, who was guarded with glove-like toughness by Duke forward Dahntay Jones, did not make a basket over the game's final 27 minutes.

"I hurt my team a lot. I didn't stay tough," Dixon said. "I missed a lot of opportunities when I had open looks and didn't knock down shots. Things like that happen. They played good defense and forced me out [away from the basket] a little bit further.

"I'll be fine. I'm not going to hold my head down. I've just got to bounce back and get my game going again."

It was a deceptive finish to a game that featured 30 lead changes, including 25 in a fast-paced first half that ended with Maryland holding a 49-48 lead.

Center Lonny Baxter led the Terps with 24 points and eight rebounds. Chris Wilcox had 14 points and seven rebounds. Duke center Carlos Boozer finished with 20 points.

Duke (15-1, 4-1), which won its third straight since an upset loss at Florida State, turned its familiar weapons loose and caught the Terps off balance in the process.

The Blue Devils, who won their third national championship last year largely on the strength of their three-point shooting, made only five of 15 attempts from beyond the arc. But their ability to penetrate Maryland's defense off the dribble led to the Terps' demise.

No one did it better than Williams, who recorded his third game of the season with at least 30 points by living in the lane, where he did much damage after blowing past point guard Steve Blake out on the wing. Williams converted 13 of 23 shots and made one of four three-point attempts. He also finished with a team-high eight assists.

"You adjust to him [Williams]. If you come up on him, he goes by you. If you stay back, he can shoot the three. That's what separates him from a lot of players," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "And he's got other players who can shoot. You don't want to do that either, so you pick your poison."

Said Dunleavy: "I'd be lying if I said we really didn't want to beat them. I've never beaten them here. Jason has never beaten them here. I felt like I was doing a pretty good job defensively and I thought the main thing was to stick with it in the second half. I knew things would open up, and they did."

Behind Jason Williams, the Blue Devils used a 17-6 run over a five-minute stretch to take a 73-63 lead with 12:33 left in the contest. Williams scored nine points during that run. His three-point play made it 71-63, and a tip-in by Matt Christensen gave Duke a 73-63 advantage, which accounted for the biggest lead of the game, at the 12:33 mark.

Maryland closed the gap to 73-70 with a 7-0 run, finished by a 12-footer by Nicholas (12 points). But the Terps were unable to generate much offense after that.

The Blue Devils went to work and knocked out the Terps with textbook precision, despite the fact that Boozer and Dunleavy played down the stretch with four fouls apiece. Duke turned the ball over only three times in the second half. Gary Williams benched an ineffective Byron Mouton (six points), and Dunleavy went to work on the wing and by posting up Dixon and Nicholas.

When Baxter fouled out with 3:46 left and the Terps trailing 91-78, Maryland was done.

"It was hard. He's a good 4 or 5 inches taller than me or Juan, and he uses his body well. He's a smart player," Nicholas said of Dunleavy.

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