Taught a No. 1 lesson, Terps vow to move on

Second-half dominance of Duke shows Maryland how far it is from the top

College Basketball

January 19, 2002|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - They were part of what might have been the most scintillating first half in any college basketball game this season. As for what happened in the final 10 minutes at Duke on Thursday night, in the most-hyped contest of the season so far, the Maryland Terrapins would rather just move on to the next game.

No. 3 Maryland was quite forgettable in crunch time at Cameron Indoor Stadium, as it tumbled to a 99-78 defeat by breaking down on multiple fronts. In the process, the Terps got another lesson from the top-ranked and defending national champion Blue Devils on how to finish what you start.

Duke, which kept the Terps (13-3, 3-1 ACC) from possibly achieving their first No. 1 ranking and prevented a third consecutive Maryland victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium, administered lessons befitting a team with a championship pedigree.

The Blue Devils (15-1, 4-1) turned loose their big-time weapons and did the necessary little things.

They created 30 points off 21 Maryland turnovers and took guard Juan Dixon, the Terps' best player, out of the game. They surprised the Terps by looking to score inside instead of outside. They got 75 points from their power trio of Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy. They took excellent care of the ball. They made 22 of 27 free throws, while the Terps made only nine of 16 in the second half.

In short, Duke did everything a squad could do while constructing a game-ending 26-8 run to beat the Terps for the third straight time dating to last season - the previous two wins eliminated Maryland from the ACC tournament and the Final Four.

"They were smart, and we weren't," Maryland junior backup guard Drew Nicholas said. "We should have stayed patient with our offense and we didn't do that. That's why they pushed the lead from 9, 10, 11 points to 18, 19, 20 points."

"You've got to win games on the defensive end. We didn't play good team defense," Dixon said.

In the end, Maryland surrendered a season-high 99 points and did not score a field goal over the game's final 7:55. In hindsight, it's admirable that Maryland was able to stand toe-to-toe for 30 minutes on Duke's floor, with Dixon so far out of the mix.

Thanks mainly to outstanding defense by Duke forward Dahntay Jones with help from guard Chris Duhon, Dixon scored a season-low 10 points, did not make a field goal over the last 27 minutes and took only two shots in the second half. It marked his lowest output since he left a game early against N.C. State last Jan. 21 with a bruised tailbone and finished with two points."[Jones] was physical. He's bigger than Juan," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We have things we can do to counter that, and we didn't do a very good job of running our offense in the second half."

The Terps also could not stop Jason Williams from penetrating their man-to-man defense with drives to the basket, and they asked Dixon and Nicholas to check the bigger, taller Dunleavy down the stretch. He scored 19 of his 21 points in the final 10 minutes and produced a game-high seven steals.

"When it's 21-9 in turnovers against a good team, you're probably going to lose. We just hit the wall in terms of scoring, and we didn't give enough help on defense [to contain Jason Williams]," Gary Williams said. "I felt really good about the way we went in there and, given the hype, played for the first 20 minutes. They beat us. They earned the win. We're moving on."

Williams liked the way the Terps beat Duke on the boards, where they held a 43-33 rebounding advantage. He liked the contributions he got off the bench from Nicholas and backup center Ryan Randle, who combined for 19 points and 11 rebounds. And he likes the Terps' position. By the way, the Duke rematch at Cole Field House is Feb. 17.

"We still have our pictures in our locker room," said Williams, poking fun at Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who stripped the Blue Devils' locker room of all pictures, chairs and name plates after their upset loss at Florida State.

"We have one loss [in the ACC]. Everybody has at least one loss. We've played three out of four on the road. We've got 12 more to play. We're in great shape. We'll see what happens."

NOTE: Duke's victory over Maryland drew ESPN's largest audience ever for a regular-season college basketball game - nearly 3 million TV homes. Georgetown and St. John's drew about 115,000 fewer on Feb. 27, 1985.

Next for Terps

Opponent: Clemson

Site: Cole Field House, College Park

When: Tomorrow, 6:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WBAL (1090 AM)

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