Comcast Center was thick with memories Wednesday night.
The nostalgia was created by the presence of retired Maryland coach Gary Williams, returning for one last pre-game fist pump to the student section as the court was dedicated in his name. It was fueled by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, former Terps star Juan Dixon and other architects of the long-standing Maryland-Duke rivalry.
And then there was a basketball game. Maryland, trying to reclaim a rivalry that has been receding because of recent Duke dominance, was worn down by Duke's inside strength in a 74-61 Blue Devils victory at the loud, sold-out Comcast Center. It was Maryland's third straight loss.
"I wish we could have won for him," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said of Williams.
Under Turgeon, Maryland (12-7, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) hoped to begin a new chapter against a Duke team that entered having won nine of the past 10 meetings, including three victories last season.
The Blue Devils (17-3, 5-1) have hurt the Terps in recent years with their inside size. Wednesday night followed the pattern as Duke -- led by Mason and Miles Plumlee -- scored 22 of its first 37 points in the paint, wiping out an early eight-point Maryland lead. Duke led 37-34 at the half.
"We wasn't the toughest team today," Maryland senior Sean Mosley said.
For Maryland, it was TMP -- too many Plumlees.
Mason Plumlee led the Blue Devils with 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting and 12 rebounds. His brother, Miles, had seven points and four rebounds.
"In the end, our defense wasn't quite good enough, and our rebounding wasn't quite good enough," said Turgeon, who was hoarse after the game from talking above a passionate crowd that he called "off the charts." Still, Turgeon said, he was encouraged that the Terps are improving.
Maryland got into foul trouble trying to guard Duke inside. Mosley (St. Frances) fouled out, and forward Ashton Pankey had four fouls.
Maryland took a 45-42 second-half lead on a field goal by center Alex Len, who did not start and was limited by two early fouls and a sore ankle.
But the Blue Devils regained the lead, upping the margin to 53-47 on Mason Plumlee's drive and foul shot and to 55-48 on Austin Rivers' layup with 9:28 left.
Maryland could get no closer than five points after that.
"I thought we let him [Mason Plumlee] get too close [to the basket]," Turgeon said of the 6-foot-10 junior.
Maryland decided not to double-team Plumlee in the lane so it could concentrate on stopping Duke's 3-point shooting. The Blue Devils -- who lead the conference in 3-point percentage -- were just 3-for-16 from beyond the arc.
"We beat a very energized, well-prepared team tonight," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Maryland played with all their hearts. You could tell, they were quick, their game plan was well-conceived."
Maryland's Terrell Stoglin, the ACC's leading scorer, was limited to four first-half points but finished with 16.
Stoglin struggled against Duke last season as the Blue Devils extended their defense out to the perimeter to contain him. He ended his freshman season with a 2-for-10 game against the Blue Devils in the ACC tournament.
Stoglin shot 7-for-14 on Wednesday night.
Maryland had hoped to use the evening to begin new fan traditions. The administration is trying to curb fan profanity at Duke games.
Maryland asked fans to do a Williams-style fist pump when the Terps reach or surpass 22 points in a game -- marking the former coach's 22 seasons in College Park.
As usual, the fans, many wearing gold, came equipped with signs aimed at the Blue Devils. "Breathe if you hate Duke," one placard said.
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