DURHAM, N.C. - With the Maryland men's basketball team trailing No. 2 Duke by four at halftime inside one of the more intimidating arenas in the nation, no one would have blamed the Terps if they had folded their hand and said good night.
It turned out that Maryland was holding four of a kind.
Second-half performances by junior forwards Nik Caner-Medley and Travis Garrison, junior guard Chris McCray and sophomore forward Ekene Ibekwe propelled the Terps to a 75-66 upset of the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium last night.
That Maryland defeated Duke wasn't a terrible surprise. Since the 1999-2000 season, the Blue Devils have lost only six times at Cameron, but the Terps own three of those victories.
Last night's rally from a 34-30 deficit wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of Caner-Medley, Garrison, McCray and Ibekwe.
Caner-Medley scored 14 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, while McCray scored all seven of his in the same span.
And when Caner-Medley twisted his left ankle with Maryland clinging to a 64-62 lead with 1:43 left, Garrison and Ibekwe - neither of whom started for the first time this season - combined to score the Terps' last 11 points to seal the outcome.
All told, the foursome accounted for 37 of Maryland's 45 second-half points.
"We played with a lot of confidence down the stretch when it was tough," coach Gary Williams said. "I'm really proud of the guys because there's a lot of people up around College Park that kind of had written us off."
The comeback began with Caner-Medley, who practically willed the Terps into contention by scoring nine of the team's first 11 points to keep Duke from pulling away.
Then McCray took over, posting five points to spark a Maryland 7-2 run that gave it a 48-47 lead - the team's first since leading 24-23 with 5:35 left in the first half.
And when the Blue Devils began fouling Garrison and Ibekwe to make them extend the Terps' lead at the free-throw line, the pair responded by converting nine of 10 attempts in the final 61 seconds.
"I didn't let it rattle me and same with Travis," Ibekwe said of Williams' decision to start sophomore guard Mike Jones and sophomore center Will Bowers in place of Ibekwe and Garrison. "With a thing like that, you've got to trust your teammates, and we came out with the win."
Williams pointed out that while McCray went 0-for-3 and had as many turnovers (two) as he had rebounds in the first half, the junior was marking Duke junior guard J.J. Redick, who scored 13 points in the first half, but recorded just seven in the second period.
To Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski, the key was Caner-Medley, who later said his twisted ankle was nothing serious.
"He kind of took the game over in that time when the game was kind of decided," Krzyzewski said. "It was a short period, but it was such a critical period. I just think he overpowered us a few times."
Three times in the past six seasons, Maryland has upset Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium when the Blue Devils were ranked No. 3 or higher:
Date rank rank Result
2/9/00 3 23 UM, 98-87
2/27/01 2 16 UM, 91-80
1/26/05 2 NR UM, 75-66