Duke's duo of Redick, Duhon one tough combo

College Basketball

January 22, 2004|By MIKE PRESTON

COLLEGE PARK - It was like target practice for Duke guards J.J. Redick and Chris Duhon. Duke kept getting more and more offensive rebounds, Redick kept getting more shots and open looks, and Duhon kept getting more opportunities to run the offense.

When that happens, most teams lose to the No. 1 team in the country. And that's what happened to Maryland last night. Final score: Duke 68, Maryland 60.

Despite a ragged offensive performance, Duke escaped College Park in a game in which Maryland's offense played just as poorly as Duke's.

The Terps (10-5, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who start four underclassmen, showed their physical immaturity as well at Comcast Center as Duke pushed them around on the boards, especially on the offensive end.

Hard to believe, huh? The blue-collar Blue Devils? It turned out to be the difference for Maryland, which faced an uphill battle most of the night, but kept having Redick and Duhon push the game out of reach at crucial times.

It happened early in the game, and it happened late.

Duke (15-1, 5-0) came into the game with a balanced scoring attack, but it struggled from the floor late in the game. In the end, it was Redick and Duhon.

With 42 seconds left in the game and Maryland within three, Terps guard D.J. Strawberry had position on Redick in the low post, but Redick stole the ball. He was fouled nearly nine seconds later and hit both ends of a one-and-one to increase Duke's lead to 65-60.

Then, 15 seconds later, Redick grabbed the rebound of a jump shot by Maryland guard John Gilchrist, and connected on two foul shots to virtually finish off Maryland.

"I felt like my jump shot was going good," Redick said. "I missed some short shots I should have made. My jump shot is feeling really good right now. It was incredible the way our guys were pulling down rebounds on the inside."

It wasn't a sensational night for Duke, which shot 33.8 percent from the floor. But Redick and Duhon kept stepping up - and on - Maryland. Redick finished with 26 points, including hitting 5-for-6 from three-point range. Redick was also 9-for-9 from the foul line and had six rebounds. Duhon was only 4-for-13 from the field, but he had eight assists.

Afterward, it was a tired Maryland team because it had to keep fighting to stay in the game, but just as importantly, the Terps had to keep chasing around Redick and Duhon.

It's not an enviable task.

Duke repeatedly sets screens and picks for Redick, one of those players who keeps running and running and running. Duhon, who can play either guard position, seems to have a knack for finding players and making last-second passes.

There were times, though, when Duhon repeatedly took Gilchrist to the basket for layups, the most crucial coming with 3:36 left in the game after Maryland had climbed within 61-55.

Another problem Duke posed for Maryland is that the Blue Devils run a three-guard offense, with Duhon surrounded by two good shooters in Redick and fellow guard Daniel Ewing.

"Duhon has made a difference in that team," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "He has committed to giving the Bobby Hurley look to that team, especially with two great shooters next to him."

The Terps didn't help themselves by getting clobbered on the boards by Duke, which held a 49-34 advantage. The Blue Devils had 24 offensive rebounds, and a lot of times forwards Luol Deng and Shelden Williams kept kicking the ball back out to Redick, who will one day make his living in the NBA shooting three-pointers.

"Duke is not the biggest team we play, but [it] worked hard on the glass," said Gary Williams. "We have to play better. When you hold a team to 33 percent shooting, you have a chance of winning. They looked stronger than us. A couple of times they ripped the ball away from us, and that's got to stop. Unlike most teams, when Duke grabs an offensive rebound, they push it back out to their three-point shooters."

An offseason in the weight room will make a big improvement for the Terps, but they won't see those results until next season. Until then, Williams has to reinforce the basics of boxing out and getting proper position. Duke just kept getting more touches to finish off Maryland, and it has players who are finishers in Duhon and Redick. Maryland is trying to develop that killer instinct, but the Terps aren't there yet.

Gilchrist is, and he finished with 10 points. Forward Nik Caner-Medley finished with 21 points for the Terps, and he played well down the stretch. But the Terps are still looking for more consistency. They are still searching for players who can bang underneath, and other players to bail them out of trouble.

Duke already has two in Duhon and Redick.

Duke opened a 14-point lead early in the second half, but Maryland cut it to 52-44 with 10:23 remaining. But Duhon stole a Gilchrist pass, which he converted into a layup for a 54-44 lead with 9:54 remaining, and then beat Gilchrist for an easy layup for another 10-point lead nearly a minute later.

The two combined for back-to-back baskets, including a three-pointer from Redick with 3:35 remaining, to push Duke's lead to 63-55 after Maryland had climbed within three.

"Last year, we kind of quit and let them do whatever they wanted," Duhon said. "This year, it was a tough, physical game. It was a battle out there. We knew they were going to make runs, and they made them. We were able to hold them off at the end, and I think that shows that this team is maturing. We did everything we could to win the game, and in the end we did more things than they did."

Said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski: "Redick hit some three-pointers that feel like they're worth more than three points. They give us the momentum back, and that was huge."

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