Terps finish off Duke

DURHAM, N.C. — DURHAM, N.C. - The Maryland Terrapins shook off a monthlong demon, stared down the storied Duke Blue Devils and made themselves look like national championship contenders, all in one amazing, 30-minute stretch of basketball.

Last night, before another hostile, sellout crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium, No. 16 Maryland continued its late February turnaround by running second-ranked Duke out of its own house and pulling away to a 91-80 victory.


Led by Juan Dixon's 28 points and five steals, Maryland used its glaring depth and took advantage of cold shooting by the Blue Devils and a foot injury to Duke center Carlos Boozer - who missed the game's final 10 minutes with a possible fracture in his right foot - to put together a 41-20 run that stretched over the final 15 minutes.

The Terps, who have won four straight games after dropping five out of six, are in position to clinch third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They close out the regular season at home against Virginia on Saturday.


But last night was all about the Terps (19-9, 9-6) putting the month-old disaster in College Park behind them. On Jan. 27 at Cole Field House, Maryland held a 10-point lead over Duke with 54 seconds left in regulation play, only to go scoreless, blow the lead and lose to the Blue Devils in overtime.

"I haven't even shown the players tape of that game. I watched the first 39 minutes last night. I still haven't watched that last minute," said Maryland coach Gary Williams, who enjoyed a victory at Cameron for the second straight year. "We knew if we came down and played well, we would give ourselves a chance to win at the end." Dixon scored 14 points during that 41-20 stretch, during which Duke (25-4, 12-3) got tired, got sloppy on defense, committed a spate of turnovers and missed too many ill-advised shots.

Three Maryland players finished with double doubles. Terence Morris had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Lonny Baxter had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Point guard Steve Blake finished with 11 points and 11 assists, his career high against ACC competition.

Senior Shane Battier, playing his last home game at Cameron, led Duke with 31 points, but did not score after cutting Duke's deficit to 78-73 with two free throws with 2:09 left. Battier fouled out in the closing seconds.

Maryland protected its lead this time. The Terps made nine of their last 10 foul shots while putting away the Blue Devils with a 13-7 run to end the contest.

Duke gave Maryland an early taste of familiar medicine, as the nation's most explosive offense produced 23 points in the final five minutes. That helped Duke turn a 36-27 deficit into a 50-43 halftime lead.

The game was fast-paced from the outset, with each team challenging the other in transition. The Terps fell behind early, 11-7, but responded with a 19-8 run that gave them a 26-19 lead with 7:56 left in the first half.

Dixon, the hottest shooter for Maryland over the past two weeks, got the Terps rolling by scoring nine of their first 20 points.


After the Blue Devils opened the game with an 11-7 run, featuring back-to-back baskets in close by Boozer, Baxter answered with a short bank shot. Dixon, thanks to a perfect, 75-foot pass from Blake, then tied the score at 11 on a fast-break layup.

From there, Maryland put together a 15-8 run, starting with a pair of free throws by Morris and featuring the open-court work of Dixon and Blake. After Battier - who would scorch the Terps for 19 first-half points - hit his second three-pointer of the half to give the Blue Devils a 14-13 lead, Maryland scored the game's next seven points to take a 20-14 lead with 11:05 left.

Blake started the run by hitting a three-pointer from the top of the key. Blake then fed Dixon for a jumper in the lane. Dixon then shook Nate James and got open underneath for a layup feed from Mike Mardesich.

Danny Miller, off another perfect pass from Blake, buried a three to give the Terps a 23-18 advantage, and Maryland extended that lead to 26-19 with 7:56 to go on a put-back jam by Morris and a free throw by Baxter.

Dixon, who had 14 points in the half, made a three-pointer from the right corner, which was followed by another follow-up jam by Morris, giving the Terps a 31-23 lead with 6:18 to go.

A three-pointer by Tahj Holden gave the Terps their biggest lead of the half at 36-27 with 5:03 left.


Then, the Terps went cold from the field, and the Blue Devils put on another show from the perimeter, as they scored on eight of their last nine possessions.

Boozer, who Krzyzewski "guessed" won't be able to return unless Duke gets deep into the NCAA tournament, started the 23-7 run with a three-point play, before the outside shooters, mainly Battier, took over. Jason Williams got things rolling with a pull-up three-pointer from the right wing, slicing the Terps' lead to 36-33 with 4:32 left.

Battier then scored Duke's next nine points, beginning with three foul shots after he was fouled by Holden while shooting from 25-foot range. That tied the score at 36.

After Dixon hit a 15-footer, Battier burned Maryland with back-to-back threes, including one from at least 25 feet away. A three-pointer by Chris Duhon then pushed the Blue Devils in front 45-39 with 1:50 to go.

Mouton cut the lead to 45-41 with a 10-footer. Boozer quickly answered with a layup. Then, after Baxter made a 15-foot shot, Williams finished the half with Duke's seventh three-pointer of the game, giving the Blue Devils a 50-43 lead.