Ryan Kelly is wild card as Maryland readies to face Duke today
Duke and Maryland split a pair of regular-season matchups, with each winning on its home court.
The wrinkle to today’s ACC Tournament quarterfinal matchup between the Blue Devils and Terrapins, who rallied past Wake Forest 75-62 on Thursday night at the Greensboro Coliseum, is that 6-11 senior Ryan Kelly will be in the Duke lineup this time.
Does what does Kelly’s presence mean for the Terps (21-11)?
“Shooters — they spread the court with a four man, so you have to still attack, go one-on-one,” Maryland freshman Charles Mitchell said. “You have to find the shooters in the halfcourt.
“I know one thing I look forward to is guarding four shooters and a big. They always spread the court. ... We have to stay attached more and have more energy and know that we want it more.”
Kelly returned to action on March 2 after recovering for almost two months after a foot injury. He posted 36 points in his return, a 79-76 win over Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and followed that with 18 in a Senior Night win over Virginia.
“Ryan changes the dynamic of the team,” said Maryland’s Dez Wells, who had a game-high 21 points against Wake Forest. “We’re going to have ... (to) be ready for him and the rest of the players.”
Duke’s “big,” of course, is 6-10 senior Mason Plumlee, who averages 17.2 points and 10.3 rebounds for the Blue Devils (27-4).
“I think me and (Shaquille Cleare) are going to take Plumlee one-on-one,” said Alex Len, Maryland’s 7-1 sophomore center who had 11 points and five rebounds while struggling with foul trouble against the Deacs. “We’re probably going to go with a small lineup, put Dez on Ryan Kelly. They’re a different team with Ryan Kelly.”
And then there are the Duke guards, who scored a combined 108 points in the previous matchups.
“Quinn (Cook) and Seth (Curry) can really create their own shots,” Maryland’s Seth Allen said after scoring 11 against Wake Forest. “Our guards are very good at guarding on the ball, and we’re great at team defense.
“Matching up with the guards, we’re going to stay close when it goes in the post and be able to dig and help. We’re going to help play great team defense.”
The Terps already have one game under their belts against a team with more fans at the Greensboro Coliseum, so they know what to expect.
“I feel like it’s going to be an away game for us,” Mitchell said. “Duke fans are right down the street. The game is going to be packed, so we just have to bring our own energy to the game.”