Terps burn Devils again

UM rises in overtime to become 1st in ACC to sweep Duke since '95-96

No. 7 Devils lose 5 men to fouls

Ibekwe returns, gives lift with Gilchrist, others in emotional comeback win

Maryland 99, Duke 92

February 13, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - It was a win so intense, so emotional that it sent the sold-out Comcast Center crowd into delirium and reduced John Gil- christ to tears.

In a season that has had its share of ups and downs, the Maryland Terrapins established a new high last night. The Terps came back from a nine-point second-half deficit and then won the game from the free-throw line in overtime, prevailing 99-92 in a thrilling victory over seventh-ranked Duke.

The fans stormed the court after the game, mobbing the Terps, who won their third straight over the Blue Devils and became the first Atlantic Coast Conference team since the 1995-96 season to sweep Duke in a regular-season series.

"I thought I was very fortunate to be on the sideline tonight to watch two teams play that hard," said Terps coach Gary Williams, whose team improved to 15-7, 6-5 in the league. The Terps inched closer to sewing up their 12th straight NCAA berth. "The competitive level for both teams was just incredible. That's college basketball. It's supposed to be played like that."

Williams, like his point guard Gilchrist, who was visibly sobbing after the victory, nearly broke down in his post-game interview. His emotions peaked when asked about the play of Gilchrist, who had 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists finishing just one assist shy of a triple double.

"I'm really happy for him," said Williams, who was involved in a much-publicized disagreement with his point guard earlier this year. "He's struggled. We all have struggled, but we never quit.

"[It was a] great win for our school, great win for our players. The players never quit. There have been times this year when we could have, but we never have and never will. That's just us."

Duke, which was coming off an impressive one-point win over second-ranked North Carolina on Wednesday, fell to 18-3, 8-3 in the ACC, couldn't muster a single field goal in overtime.

Duke as a team shot just 39.7 percent and ended the game with five of its top seven players on the bench after being disqualified by fouls.

"I was just so happy for our team," said Gilchrist, who played 41 of 45 minutes. "It was a wonderful feeling to win this as a team. It's a wonderful feeling when you win a game of this magnitude.

"I have to attribute [his play] to [Williams] for being a great coach. We molded to one another. We weren't seeing eye-to-eye on certain things, but he gave me some leeway."

Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski was forced to go deep on his bench in the waning moments last night because of foul trouble, but the Blue Devils never found the answer. Big men Shavlik Randolph and Shelden Williams (23 points, 16 rebounds) didn't make it through regulation because of fouls.

Then Daniel Ewing (23 points) was disqualified 13 seconds into overtime. Lee Melchionni went next, robbing the Blue Devils of all but two of their top offensive players. The Blue Devils were 0-for-9 from the field in overtime.

"It was frustrating," said junior guard J.J. Redick, who had 21 points, but shot just 5-for-19 from the field. "We were definitely at a disadvantage."

Added Krzyzewski: "The key to the game was how often you go to the free-throw line. They were able to make strong moves and get to the line and we didn't."

A putback by junior forward Travis Garrison gave Maryland a 93-90 lead with under three minutes left in regulation.

McCray then buried six straight free throws in the last 1:08. When it was all over, McCray whipped the ball in the crowd, hugged Gilchrist and the Terps were enveloped by a sea of Maryland fans.

"At the end of that game, I've never heard it louder," said Gary Williams. "That was unbelievable."

Added McCray, who had 17 points and was 10-for-10 from the line: "We really wanted this game."

The Terps had other heroes. Maligned for his play recently, Garrison had 17 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, one of the best games of his college career. Mike Jones came off the bench and scored 15 points on 4-for-5 shooting.

At one point with the Terps seemingly in danger of losing contact with Duke after leading by five at halftime, Jones scored eight straight points after Duke had taken a 73-64 lead. His last points during that run, a pull-up three-pointer that cut Duke's lead to 73-72 with 8:28 remaining.

Sophomore Ekene Ibekwe also had a huge game despite playing with a cracked rib that kept him out of the past two games. He finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Six Terps overall were in double figures.

"I felt the pressure on my lungs," said Ibekwe. "The [doctor] told me I am getting better and he said there's really no way it could get worse. I told myself [Friday night] I was going to go."

With 39 seconds to go in regulation and after Gilchrist had pulled the Terps within one on a three-point play with 1:15 to go, Ibekwe tipped in Garrison's miss and was fouled on the play by Shelden Williams, who picked up his fifth. Ibekwe converted the foul shot to give the Terps an 88-86 lead.

Duke tied the game at 88 on a DeMarcus Nelson basket.

After a timeout, Gilchrist missed an off-balance jumper from the top of the key and Nik Caner-Medley's follow at the buzzer rimmed out and the game went to overtime.

The next stop for Maryland is North Carolina State on Wednesday.

"This wasn't the national championship," said Caner-Medley. "If it was, we could celebrate and we could have a good time, but now is not the time to celebrate. You've got to build off this."

NOTES: Cal Ripken, Red Auerbach and Brian Billick, who sat next to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, were among the notables in the crowd at last night's game. Former Terps at the game included Byron Mouton, Walt Williams, Wayne Bristol, Norman Fields, Calvin McCall, Tahj Holden, Chris Kerwin, Johnny Rhodes and Duane Simpkins.

Next for Maryland

Matchup: Maryland (15-7, 6-5) vs. N.C. State (13-10, 3-7)

Site: RBC Center, Raleigh, N.C.

When: Wednesday, 9 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 54/WBAL (1090 AM)

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