Terps ice No. 2 Blue Devils
No. 2 Duke knew it was headed to the NCAA Tournament.
Maryland did not.
Now Maryland is headed to the ACC Tournament semifinals.
Showing they were the hungrier team Friday night, the Terrapins needed less than four minutes to build a double-digit lead. Maryland, the tournament’s No. 7 seed, never gave up the lead and beat cold-shooting Duke 83-74 in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals at Greensboro Coliseum.
“This was not a good night for us,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “One of the things (about) this time of year — and Maryland feels this right now — if you lose it’s final. Our team did not feel that.”
The Terrapins (22-11) entered the ACC Tournament with no assurances of an NCAA Tournament bid. Now, having defeated Duke twice in the last four weeks, they are two wins away from winning the ACC championship and an automatic bid.
The Blue Devils (27-5) suffered their first loss of the season with senior forward Ryan Kelly in the lineup. The Blue Devils won 15 consecutive games to start the season before Kelly missed 13 games with a right foot injury.
Duke won the final three regular-season games after Kelly’s March 2 return and entered the ACC Tournament looking like one of the nation’s best teams.
“Our team over the last 10 days has played great,” Krzyzewski said. “But we weren’t that team tonight.”
Duke was off in several areas.
The Blue Devils made just 4 of 25 3-point shots (16 percent), their second-worst 3-point shooting night of the season. It’s just the fifth time Duke has shot worse than 30 percent on 3-pointers this season.
That was one of our keys to win the game: “Stay connected at the 3-point line, (and) we felt like we had a good chance to win,” Maryland guard Seth Allen said.
Duke shot 41.5 percent overall and fell behind early by making only 33 percent of its first-half shots.
“I think we did a great job today,” Maryland center Alex Len said. “Our plan was to take Plumlee on the challenge one-on-one, no help from the guards. We were trying to keep them out of the lane or the 3-point line. They have so many great shooters.
“Maybe they were shooting poorly, but maybe we did a great job on defense.”
Defensively, Duke saw Maryland’s Dez Wells score 30 points to propel the Terrapins to the win.
“He had it going,” Duke point guard Quinn Cook said. “He had it going every which way. It was tough for us tonight, and he had a heck of a game.”
A player has scored 30 points or more against Duke only one other time this season — Virginia’s Joe Harris had 36 when the Cavaliers beat Duke 73-68 on Feb. 28.
Maryland shot 60.9 percent in the second half and finished at 51 percent for the game. Augmenting Wells’ output, four other Maryland players scored 10 points each — Jake Layman, Nick Faust, Len and Allen.
“It was our defense,” Kelly said. “We, overall, didn’t do a great job of keeping the ball in front of us. I in particular did a very poor job of that. When we play good defense that leads to good offense that certainly didn’t happen for us tonight.”
Maryland grabbed a quick 12-2 lead before Duke could find any flow on offense. The Terrapins led by as many as 12 points in the first half and took a 34-26 halftime lead.
Having made just 1 of 10 3-pointers in the first half, Duke attacked the basket more in the second half.
Senior guard Seth Curry had six points and senior center Mason Plumlee five as the Blue Devils cut Maryland’s lead to 41-39.
Duke climbed within one point at 47-46 and had a chance to tie at the 12:34 mark. But with Maryland holding a 48-46 lead, Plumlee’s power move in the lane for a basket was wiped out when he was called for a charging foul.
“We got it down to 2 and Mason got inside and we got that charge call,” Krzyzewski said. “That was a pivotal time because we had a chance.”
The chance slipped away over the next six minutes as Duke managed just two field goals. Maryland got two baskets inside from reserve Shaq Cleare to get the momentum back. Layman scored on a drive and reverse layup. When Wells and Len scored baskets on back-to-back possessions, Maryland had built a 63-52 lead with 6:40 to play.
Duke never drew closer than five points the rest of the game.
Now the Blue Devils must wait until Sunday’s NCAA selection announcement to learn where they’ll play next week in the NCAA Tournament.
They know they’ll have to play better, and hungrier, to stay alive.
“Now we have to understand that that’s the way it is,” Krzyzewski said. “If you don’t do it, it’s done. I don’t care what your record was or whatever. It’s over its one and done. We didn’t play like one and done tonight. They did and they won. Going into this next time, everybody is in the same boat. The team that feels that the most gets an advantage. I would hope that’s something that we can feel going into the NCAA Tournament.”
|MARYLAND 83, No. 2 DUKE 74|
Percentages: FG .510, FT .920.
3-Point Goals: 8-20, .400 (Wells 2-2, Allen 2-4, Layman 2-4, Faust 2-5, Len 0-1, Aronhalt 0-1, Howard 0-3).
Team Rebounds: 2.
Blocked Shots: 1 (Len).
Turnovers: 14 (Faust 5, Allen 4, Wells 2, Mitchell, Cleare, Len).
Steals: 3 (Howard, Cleare, Wells).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .415, FT .889.
3-Point Goals: 4-25, .160 (Curry 2-7, Cook 1-4, Thornton 1-5, Murphy 0-1, Sulaimon 0-2, Kelly 0-6).
Team Rebounds: 2.
Blocked Shots: 2 (Thornton, Mas. Plumlee).
Turnovers: 6 (Mas. Plumlee 4, Cook, Thornton).
Steals: 6 (Mas. Plumlee 2, Cook, Thornton, Curry, Hairston).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials—Roger Ayers, Les Jones, Brian Dorsey.